‘Lucky Number Slevin’ thrills and excites

Ryan Haidet

Josh Hartnett, of 40 Days, 40 Nights fame, stars as Slevin in the new film Lucky Number Slevin. COURTESY OF THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

It’s a game of good cat and bad dog.

It’s about pulling off a Kansas City shuffle – distracting somebody before pulling off a hit or swindling when they least expect it.

Although it may have a really lame title, Lucky Number Slevin is the best thriller to hit the big screen in a long time.

It shuffles into theaters tomorrow, or as director Paul McGuigan said, “April Slevinth.”

This pulse-pounding, hilarious thriller is well worth every hard-earned penny.

Josh Hartnett stars as title character Slevin. He is visiting his friend Nick’s house when two thugs knock on the door and tell him that they are taking him to The Boss (Morgan Freeman).

Slevin tells them that they have the wrong guy, but for obvious reasons, they don’t believe him and forcibly take him to The Boss.

He arrives in the most awkward of situations-wearing only a towel, and the Boss tells Slevin he owes him $96,000. Even though he tries to convince the Boss that he isn’t Nick (the one the Boss really wants), the Boss doesn’t believe him.

With the intimidating bunch of characters trying to scare the towel-wearing Slevin, he shows no feeling of intimidation as he makes sarcastic remarks toward the menacing thugs. This makes many of these scenes funny because the thugs shoot back sarcastic remarks, too.

The Boss, understanding Slevin may not have $96,000, gives him an option that will clear him of all of his debts – murder. He is given three days to kill The Rabbi’s son instead of paying the debt.

The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) is a rival to The Boss.

Slevin is taken back to Nick’s house only to hear another knock on the door by The Rabbi’s thugs who take him away to The Rabbi’s place.

Upon his arrival, Slevin is told that he owes The Rabbi $33,000.

Now, stuck in a predicament between the two rivals, Slevin must decide what he is going to do, and he gets advice from Nick’s neighbor Lindsey (Lucy Liu).

Lucky Number Slevin

Starring Josh Hartnett, Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu and Stanley Tucci

Directed by Paul McGuigan

Distributed by The Weinstein Company

Rated R for strong violence, sexuality and language

Stater rating (out of five): ?????

The decisions Slevin makes throughout the rest of the film take the audience through jaw-dropping plot twists.

The star-studded cast work extremely well together. The cast has that Bert and Ernie relationship in that they are all cohesive.

Hartnett is at his best and plays the smart-ass role convincingly. He does an excellent job at making the vulnerable Slevin a tough, likable guy who is just trying to solve his predicament. Kingsley and Freeman deliver their dialogue flawlessly, and their performances are ones that should be applauded.

Bruce Willis delivers a mysterious, chilling performance as he shows up in the most unusual of places in a discreet manner.

McGuigan, who directed the 2004 film Wicker Park starring Hartnett, has put together a fantastic movie that may make his name mainstream in the near future. He does a great job pulling off his own Kansas City shuffle on the audience with all of the unexpected twists that even the best of psychics couldn’t predict – make no assumptions.

It’s a delectable thriller that is engaging from start to finish. Don’t leave the theater for a last-minute snack or bathroom break because it’s not worth missing a sliver of this film.

Contact ALL correspondent Ryan Haidet at [email protected].