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July 02, 2001 - Image 12

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-07-02

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 2, 2001

ARTS

BEAUTY AND THE 'SEXY BEAST'
'Sexy' McShane breaks into thej
States with new Glazer flick d

jI

By Jenny Jeltes
Daily Arts Writer
Ian McShane may be an unfamiliar
name to many in the United States, but
he's definitely one splendid man.
Starring in Jonathan Glazer's
upcoming film "Sexy Beast,' McShane
plays Teddy Bass, a merciless gangster,
whose evil demeanor permeates the
atmosphere of the entire film. In real
life, however, McShane is refreshingly
charismatic and friendly. After sharing
his views on "Sexy Beast' acting and
the entertainment industry in general,
it's no wonder that McShane has been
so successful.
McShane says that "Sexy Beast" is a
wonderful film. "When you see a film
that vou're nart of you eniov it on such

a level that you take yourself away
from it, you just watch the movie.
Glazer has such a great command of
the material. It's shot so well and the
soundtrack and effects are good. It's
one complete movie and it has its own
life for an hour and a half."
The script for "Sexy Beast" came
from the talented minds of Louis Mel-
lis and David Scinto, whose stageplay
"Gangster No. 1" garnered wonderful
reviews around England. Due to its
success, it was made into a screenplay,
but Mellis and Scinto hated what was
being done to it. McShane said "They
walked off and took their names off it,
blew off the director, and wrote 'Sexy
Beast' as a PHFFFT to that." Ironically,
"Sexy Beast" was soon picked up by
the same film comnanv.

"Sexy Beast" came out in London
early this year and was fabulously
reviewed, but poorly distributed; but
due to the reaction it got in the States,
it will probably be re-released later in
the year.
"I think Glazer did an extraordinary
job from an extraordinary script. There
wasn't one word of improvised dia-
logue or paraphrasing in the entire
movie. It was as written...that's how
good Scinto and Mellis are," McShane
said.
When asked how McShane viewed
the role of Teddy, he credits Glazer for
really knowing what he is doing.
"Teddy Bass is really a minimalist part.
'Sexy Beast' is really a love story and I
think that the sexy beast is the money."
"Sexy Beast" is in its own genre, and
it's uniqueness makes it function on
many levels. McShane agrees, "The
whole thing can be explained in one
man's nightmare; it's a journey and he
(Don Logan) comes through it. It's
really a metaphor for life."
McShane's teachers inspired him to
be an actor. At 17, he auditioned for the
Royal Academy in London and he has
been acting ever since. McShane is
well known to UK viewers as the lead
character in the TV series "Lovejoy"
for which he also produced and direct-
ed some of the episodes. McShane
came up with this idea himself. "I
found a short novel called 'Lovejoy,' so
I met with the author (Johnathan Gash)
and wanted Ian LaFrenais (who wrote
"Likely Lads") to write it." The show
was about a stylish antique dealer who
is a divvy - meaning he's blessed with
a gift of knowing whether something is
the real thing or not.
McShane's other credits include
"War and Remembrance," "The Grace
Kelly Story," "Columbo," "Perry
Mason," "Miami Vice" and "Dallas."
And that's just television. He's been in
several plays, including "The Promise"
and "The Glass Menagerie" and his
last role was the lead in Cameron
Mackintosh's London stage production
of"The Witches of Eastwick."
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By Lyle Henretty
Daily Arts Writer
A plot synopsis of Jonathan Glaz-
er's debut film, "Sexy Beast," could be
so droll and so absolutely common
that it would do the fine film little-to-
no justice; "Sexy Beast" is about a
retired criminal
coaxed out of
retirement to do
one last job.
Sexy Glazer sets out
Beast to deconstruct the
Grade: A "heist" sub-genre
by studying the
Starts Friday at The psychological ram-
Michgan theater ifications of being
a criminal, and
what it means to
be seduced by "the
Iife." "Sexy
Beast" is not sim-
ply a look at crime
that pays until the obligatory third act
crumble, nor is it simply a caper film
where the criminal is showcased as a
valiant soldier fighting the tyranny of
a more-corrupt system. It is an enter-
taining crime movie with lots of vio-
lence, grimy/slick characters, and a
conclusion that forces a reconsidera-
tion of redemption as a concept.
The film begins with the overtly
sweaty Gary "Gal" Dove (Ray Wine-
stone) savoring retirement poolside at
his Spanish Villa. Gal is middle-aged
and fifty pounds overweight, yet his
deep tan and chiseled good looks
reveal the youth that surely made him
the "Sexy Beast" of any crew he may
have previously worked with. Yet his
new life comes with a price-tag, as
shown both by a deadly boulder anni-
hilating the serenity of Gal's backyard,
and the arrival of long time collabora-
tor/nemesis Don Logan (Ben Kings-
ley).
Don wants Gal to come out of
retirement for the heist of a lifetime,
but Gal has promised his beloved ex-
porn star wife Dee Dee (Amanda Red-
man) that he is done with crime.
While on paper this may sen like a
pointless plot device, a way of forcing
tension, the love between Gal and Dee
Dee isone oftlieii6sit tuchin kind-

hearted relationships on-screen
recent memory. It has none of the H
lywood gloss usually associated w
love and instead shows the tendern
and human understanding that
together most lasting relationships.
The inverse of this love is the app
ent torch Don still carries for Jac
(Julianne White), who, along wi
husband Aitch (the late Cav
Kendall) spend a great deal of ti
enjoying ex-con status with Gal. D
abhors being seen as weak, so the d
ble rejection of seeing Jackie alo
with Gal's frightened refusal sen
Don into a violent rage, culminating
his removal from the airplane
after offering to stub out his cig
in another passenger's eyeball.
The film's centerpiece is the vi
lent, often funny interplay betwe
Winestone and Kingsley. Winestone
clearly an actor interested in making
believable, everyday guy trying
make it in an absurd world. Kingsle:
Don is a tormented monster of clas
cal proportions, a Richard III w
sleek goatee and a cue-ball head.
a baby who bites hard when he does
get his way, to Winestone's bele
guered father trying to pretend he is
control. Both actors are mesmerizii
and if there is any justice in this wot
Kingsley will bookend his Best Ac
Oscar for playing one of the worl
kindest men (in 1982's "Gandhi") w
Best Supporting statue for possil
playing the world's cruelest.
Other characters, such as Ken a
nervous, good-hearted Aitch, ai
McShane's icy-cool crime boss, a
intelligent, colorful support to the t
strong leads. As the director, Gla:
abandons his commercial and mu
video origins to make a beautifu
conceived, well-paced film. When
does resort to intricate cutting,
show the interplay and web of mact
mo associated with setting up a lar
scale robbery, it is more orgar4
funny and carefully realized than a
thing turned out by a major directoi
nearly a decade. While Glazer may
a director to watch in the futu
Kingsley and Winestone will.keep
audience attentive during "Se
Beast:'

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9 out of 10 Ann Arbor News !

s.UP3CU 51

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