Do you like Speedo swimming trunks. On men? Y’know, those skinny little elastic things in weird colours that look great on Olympic swimmers when they do the 100m butterfly in twelve seconds. But look horrible on us mere mortals.
In Sexy Beast (Fri, Film4, 22.40) London tough guy Ray Winstone gets to flash his speedo (so to speak) under the river of hot sun of southern Spain.
He plays retired tough guy Gal Dove who is levered out of his lazy days by the pool to do the inevitable one last job. The bad guy who tells him he is needed back in misty damp Blighty is Ben Kingsley. And boy does Kingsley, aka Gandhi, really turn it on as the psychotic, tattooed, evil hard man.
He frightened me in my Odeon seat, he frightened old Gal Dove up there on the screen and he absolutely petrified Gal’s wife Deedee (Amanada Redman) as he demonically badgers Mr Speedo to lead a gang of underwater bank robbers. So what you get from this Britfilm gem from 2000 is a masterpiece directed by Jonathan Glazer, who went on to helm another Brit beauty, Under the Skin.
At the centre of Sexy Beast, though, is a warm heart despite its toughness and violence and grimy crimey caper plot. Gal simply loves Deedee and all he wants to do is get back to sunny Spain to lie by the pool, drink and enjoy his marriage to the woman he loves. In effect, it is a suburban love story, albeit with guns, blood, shouty sweaty bits and superb supporting gangster roles from Ian McShane and James Fox. Plus a lovely parade of cur-a-zee East End tough guy faces that seem to loom in every London shot.
A great film.
Footnote: If you are a Brando/Pacino/Godfather obsessive, the crystal box has all three this week.The Godfather (Wed, Film4, 21.00) kicks it off with Marlon shoving oranges in his mouth to get that mumbly authentic Mafia sound, Godfather II (Thu, Film4, 21.00) may be one of the best American films ever with de Niro looking all Italiano in the Lower East Side of a hundred years ago, and Godfather III follows on to prove you should never make a sequel of a sequel. It is a loud, inchoate mess.
+Screengrab takes a break. Back in February.