Sexy Beast (Blu-ray)
Twilight Time / 2000 / 89 mins / R
Remember that opening scene in Quentin Tarantino's INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS? Christoph Waltz's SS Colonel interrogates French dairy farmer Denis Menochet in the quaint little kitchen? It's just two men talking. That's all that is happening. But it is one of the most intense, stressful, uncomfortable, edge-of-your-seat suspense scenes of all time. Now imagine if that scene went on for another 40 minutes. I'm not saying the first half of SEXY BEAST is quite that intense, but it certainly comes close. The first half to maybe three quarters of SEXY BEAST is just people talking; at first it is just introducing us to characters and giving background. And then Sir Ben Kingsley walks into the picture and it is not unlike Waltz's Hans Landa entering the scene. The tension is immediate and it is wound extremely tight.
Gal Dove (Ray Winstone) has left his life in London as one of the top safe-crackers and has retired to an isolated hacienda in Spain with the love of his life, ex-porn star Deedee (Amanda Redman.) They have friends, a friendly pool boy who helps around the house and a favorite restaurant in town. Gal has everything he has ever wanted. Unfortunately, his ex-boss Don Logan (Kingsley) has been hired to put a top team together by crime lord Teddy Bass (Ian McShane) to rob an impregnable bank back in the UK; and Don wants Gal in. Don is a sociopath who simply will not take no for an answer and Gal is firm in his resolve to be out of the game and live a quiet life with Deedee. So what happens when the psychotically unstoppable Don comes up against the immoveable Gal? Just one of the best and most original heist films of the 21st century (well, the first 13 years of it at least.)
Director Jonathan Glazer's first feature film doesn't look like a first feature film at all. His camera angles are gorgeous, his editing tight and fast and he pulled another Oscar nominated performance out of Ben Kingsley. SEXY BEAST is the product of a filmmaker and a cast that know exactly what they were going after and exactly how to achieve it. This is a sharp film reminiscent of the sure-footed style of the Coen Brothers' first film BLOOD SIMPLE. SEXY BEAST may have been lost in the shuffle of glossy crime dramas of the 2000's, but thirteen years later it has lost none of its edge.
Twilight Time has brought SEXY BEAST to Blu-ray in not one, but two anamorphic transfers. You have your choice between the original theatrical 2.35 or the home video 1.78. Each has its own advantages in terms of picture information; the 2.35 transfer has more on the side and while the 1.78 transfer crops the sides it has more top and bottom info. The source prints supplied by Fox are very good, but not perfect. Detail is on the slightly soft side but color is beautifully saturated and rice. Surprisingly, speckles and dust appear quite frequently. They are not to the point of distraction, but they are there nonetheless.
The doubling continues to the DTS-HD Master Audio audio mix as well. You have your choice of the original 2.0 mono or a new 5.1 surround. While the mono is decent, the 5.1 surround is clearly the way to go as it opens up the environment significantly without sounding forced or gimmicky.
The supplement package begins with a chatty commentary track with Sir Ben Kingsley and Director Jeremy Thomas.
A generic "Featurette" is a vintage promotional piece from 2000 and offers most of the cast discussing shooting in Spain and the motivations of their characters.
Roque Banos' score is available on an isolated DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track.
The original theatrical trailers rounds out the goodies.
Taught, suspenseful and original, SEXY BEAST can rightfully take its place among the best crime dramas of the past twenty five years. Recommended!
** SEXY BEAST is available exclusively via www.screenarchives.com... an excellent soundtrack and film specialty site **