Sexy Beasts & Cherubic Angels


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 Director Jonathan Glazer has caught our eye. And so, in reverse order, we have been dipping into the past, working our way up to his first major success. It is a stylish crime story called Sexy Beast.

There are more than a few beasts in this movie, and so you presumably have your choice of which one is the story title. Retired safecracker emeritus, Gal (Ray Winstone) lives luxuriously in Spain in a modern villa, complete with a set of friends and a teenage poolboy.

It seems idyllic—flirtation with the poolboy being the norm, if you ignore the occasional nightmare that features a horned, satanic figure that torments Gal.

If this film wants to be different from caper films, it manages to create a demeanor so cool that it makes you forgive the thick accents of the principals. All starts to unravel when word comes that the worst of the bad, Don Logan (Ben Kingsley), is traveling to see Gal.

There is such a sense of terror about this master criminal that he can hardly be expected to live up to the hype. However, you have not counted on Ben Kingsley giving one of the most intense, horrific, nasty performances of the era.

Kingsley chew scenery and eats other performers. He is meant to steal the movie with his bilious intimidation. Yet, Ian McShane as another sociopathic gangster gives Kingsley as run for the title of most frightening figure.

Gal, fortunately, seems to have a guardian angel in his little poolboy who inspires the courage to stand up to a Grand Guignol performance by Kingsley.

If you want a film experience, Glazer never disappoints. He gives viewers a movie and a half in 90 minutes. Set aside your squeamish prudery. The F-bomb occurs more than once per minute, and the C-bomb seems to drop by every three minutes.

Glazer may not be a one-trick pony, but the director is a startling filmmaker with everything up his sleeve.

Beauty Under the Skin Reveals Beast


Skin Job

Jonathan Glazer makes movies on rare occasions.

His latest, after nearly ten years, is called Under the Skin, and it is a creepy on the cusp of science fiction weirdo.

As always, Glazer attracts big stars to his small projects, this time Scarlett Johansson who is stunning in a black wig. She mesmerizes as the beguiling alien whose mission is to feed unsuspecting blokes from Glasgow to her species of oily slicks.

The main character seems to look at these humans as some kind of ant colony, lacking any reason for sympathy. She mimics sexual allure to reel in the little fish.

At first you may wonder if she is another vampire on the prowl, or even an android in the vein of the Terminator. However, this is not your teenage boy’s idea of science fiction. There is a dearth of action, and no superhero to save the day. All those nude scenes belie something evil coming your way.

We once saw an Outer Limits show from the old days in which space aliens came to Earth and became corrupted by cigarettes and coffee to lose sight of their mission. So it is for Johansson’s featured creature. Chocolate cake may lead to sex, and their satisfying qualities may be lost if you are from some far off galaxy.

Under the Skin is slow-moving, methodical, and hypnotic. The music of Mica Levi provides the right métier of off-putting.

Each episode illuminates the situation in which a catatonic monster becomes a victim of her own space-shot mission.


Be sure to check out the new movie review book, DOCUMENTARY VERSUS DOCUDRAMA. It’s now available at in softcover and in ebook for smart readers.

You can analyze this metaphoric tale every which way, but it is a wonder to behold.