Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

lucky number slevin

“I was thinking that if you’re still alive when I get back from work tonight… maybe we could go out to dinner or something?”

The Scoop: 2006 R, directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, and Lucy Liu

Tagline: Wrong Time. Wrong Place. Wrong Number.

Summary Capsule: Alternate title: The Sleepy Tree Sloth And The Really, Seriously, Amazingly, Excrementally Bad Day With Vengeful Mobsters And Lucy Liu Too!

Sue’s rating: Always remember your towel.

Sue’s review: Slevin is having a bad day. In short order, he loses his job, his girlfriend, his apartment, gets mugged, has his nose broken, and arrives at a sympathetic buddy’s apartment just in time to be intercepted and abducted by members of an organized crime fraternity who believe that he is, in fact, his conveniently absent buddy. The poor schmo doesn’t even have his driver’s license (remember that mugging?) to prove that he isn’t who they say he is. So, without further ado, our hapless hero, wearing nothing more than a floral bath towel, gets sucked into an underground war between two very senior mob bosses; both of whom he allegedly owes a lot of money to. That is, assuming he is who they say he is, as opposed to who he is instead of who he isn’t. Wait. What?

Did I say bad day? This is the sort of ultra-negative karma that comes with having been Caligula, Ghengis Khan, Vlad the Impaler and a suppertime telemarketer in your past lives.

Anyway, what follows is about 100 minutes of what I’d call Russian Roulette Hopscotch; a game in which everyone gets to play, but no one knows exactly where the land-mines are, or who put them there. Nasty. Clever, but nasty. Considering that the body count is racked up pretty high even before the opening credits are through, this is not a game for the weak-stomached or under-insured.

The players include our mobster friends “The Boss” (Morgan Freeman) and “The Rabbi” (Sir Ben Kingsley), an assassin named Mr. Goodkatt (Bruce Willis), a befuddled cop (Stanley Tucci), an almost-bimbo love interest (Lucy Liu) and Slevin himself (Josh Hartnett, our sleepy tree sloth friend!) Ignoring the fact that Lui and Hartnett look as logical a love match as a pug and an English mastiff (certainly possible, but potentially tragic in application), this is a really stellar cast for a fairly low-rated and under-advertised movie. That’s worth thinking about.

As far as the plot goes, I’ve said as much as I can lest there be spoilers. What I will say is that every major player seems to have two fundamental character flaws; a shaky grasp of basic human morals and a really deplorable taste in wallpaper. Under the circumstances, I’m not sure which I find more personally objectionable. That wallpaper is really ugly!

As a rule, I don’t like brutally violent movies. Never have, never will. That’s just me. However, there are times (few and far between) when I’ll make an exception to that rule on the basis of artistry, cleverness or even just sheer unadulterated chutzpah. The best example I can think of is Sin City. I loved Sin City. I like Lucky Number Slevin. It’s twisty good fun.

Out of his habitat, and during the commission of an apparent homicide, the sleepy tree sloth still finds time for his afternoon nap.
Out of his habitat, and during the commission of an apparent homicide, the sleepy tree sloth still finds time for his afternoon nap.


  • Watch out for that Kansas City Shuffle!
  • Slevin’s nose is a fist magnet.
  • The restaurant’s men’s room seems designed to overcome even the shyest of bladders.
  • Hartnett does a rather accurate, if brief, Sean Connery impersonation.
  • The reason The Rabbi is called The Rabbi. He’s a Rabbi.
  • Hasidic henchmen?
  • There’s rather a strong anti-gambling message in this movie.
  • Do sleepy tree sloths know what adrenalin is? Do they have any? I’m guessing no.
  • I wonder if the guards on the ledges of the high rise buildings are scared of heights?
  • It seems like the biggest continuity problem in the movie is Josh Hartnett’s hair. This is the case in a lot of Hartnett movies.
  • Is there anyone cooler than Bruce Willis?

Groovy Quotes

Lindsey: I was thinking that if you’re still alive when I get back from work tonight… maybe we could go out to dinner or something?

Slevin: This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, yeah?
Lindsey: You mean this isn’t the first time a crime lord asked you to kill the gay son of a rival gangster to pay off a debt that belongs to a friend whose place you’re staying in as a result of losing your job, your apartment and finding your girlfriend in bed with another guy?
Slevin: No, this is the first time that happened, but Nick has been painting me into corners since we were kids. I guess I’ve always been a better friend to him than he’s been to me…

Slevin’s Girlfriend: This is an accident.
Slevin: (observing her in bed with another man) What, like… he tripped, you fell?

Slevin: Look. I’m not the guy you’re looking for. I don’t live here.
Sloe: Yeah well you look like the guy who lives here.
Slevin: Man, you don’t know what the guy who lives here looks like!
Elvis: What he means to say is that you look like you live here.
Sloe: Yeah, that’s what I mean to say.

Slevin: They call him the Rabbi.
Lindsey: Why do they call him the Rabbi?
Slevin: Because he’s a Rabbi.

The Boss: I bet it was that mouth that got you that nose.

The Rabbi: You must be Mr. Fisher.
Slevin: Must I be? Because it hasn’t been working out for me lately.

Detective: Who are you?
Slevin: Philosophically speaking?
Detective: Name.
Slevin: Rank, serial number?
Other Detective: You should really play ball kid.
Slevin: Really? You think I’m tall enough?

Lindsey: I’m short for my height.

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