Sexy Beast

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Sexy Beast
Sexy beast ver1.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Jonathan Glazer
Produced by Jeremy Thomas
Written by Louis Mellis
David Scinto
Starring Ray Winstone
Ben Kingsley
Ian McShane
Amanda Redman
Cavan Kendall
Julianne White
Álvaro Monje
James Fox
Music by Roque Baños
Cinematography Ivan Bird
Edited by John Scott
Sam Sneade, Louis Mellis David Scinto (Uncredited)
Kanzaman S.A.
Recorded Picture Company
Jeremy Thomas Productions
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release date
  • 13 September 2000 (2000-09-13) (TIFF)
  • 12 January 2001 (2001-01-12) (UK)
  • 8 March 2002 (2002-03-08) (Spain)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £4.2 million
Box office



Sexy Beast is a 2000 British crime film and the directorial debut of Jonathan Glazer. Glazer had previously directed music videos and commercials for companies such as Guinness and Levi's, the film stars Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane.

Kingsley's performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor;[1] in 2004 the magazine Total Film named Sexy Beast the 15th greatest British film of all time.


Ex-con and expert safe-cracker Gary "Gal" Dove completed his prison time and has happily retired to a Spanish villa with his beloved ex–porn star wife DeeDee. He shares the company of long-time best friend Aitch and his wife Jackie. Two scenes foreshadow an end to his peace: a large boulder nearly hits him and lands in the pool damaging its tile double-heart insignia, after a hunt where he and his friends fail to bag a rabbit, Gal has a dream of a man with a terrifying rabbit's head that appears like a Devil's head pointing a gun at him.

The arrival of a violent old criminal associate, Don Logan, intent on enlisting Gal in a bank job back in London shatters his serenity. Teddy Bass, a crime lord, learned about the bank's vault from Harry, the bank's chairman, whom he met at an orgy. Gal politely but firmly declines Logan's many progressively threatening then violent demands he join, after Gal suggests Logan's real reason is his obsessive infatuation with Jackie, Logan grows furious then demands to be taken to the airport. On the plane, Logan refuses to put out his cigarette prior to take-off and is ejected. A seething Logan returns to Gal's home screaming obscenities, threatens to kill Gal then smashes a beer bottle against Gal's head, the scene cuts with DeeDee aiming a shotgun at Don who merely looks at her with hate.

The scene shifts to Gal in London. When asked by Bass about Logan's whereabouts, Gal feigns ignorance and claims Logan had called him "from Heathrow"; in the morning, Gal has another vision of the man with the rabbit-devil head approaching and pointing a revolver at him. He then sees Bass who sits, smiles and questions him again. Bass reveals that he knows Don got off the plane while still in Spain. Gal continues to feign any knowledge of this and insists that Don claimed to call him from Heathrow.

During the heist, Bass' crew use surface-supplied diving gear to drill into Harry's bank vault from a pool in a neighbouring bath house, as he drills, Gal recalls what happened at home, DeeDee shoots Logan with a shotgun, incapacitating him. Jackie and Gal join in beating him. Aitch remains too scared to act despite pleas from DeeDee, Gal and Jackie. Don looks at Aitch and announces, "I fucked her", meaning Jackie. Aitch picks up a television set, announces, "Now I've fucked you!" and brings it down on Don's head.

Breaking through the wall, the water from the pool floods the vault and shorts its security system. While helping to empty the vault's safe deposit boxes, Gal secretly pockets a pair of large ruby earrings encrusted with diamonds, after the job is done, Bass insists on driving Gal to the airport. Along the way, stops by Harry's home. Inside, Bass kills Harry in cold blood and immediately and pointedly questions Gal again about Logan. Gal merely responds, "I'm not into this any more." Back in the car, Bass suggests he knows what happened to Logan, saying first, "If I cared, Gal. If I fucking cared. If I gave a solitary fuck about Don Logan!" then "Spain, eh? I must drop in sometime. Pay my respects." He pays Gal £10 for his services, giving Gal a £20 note and demanding change, then tells him to get out of the car and drives away.

Back home in Spain, Gal is surrounded by his friends and DeeDee is wearing the ruby-diamond earrings he stole. Gal hears Don's voice tell him that he knew Gal would do the job; in his mind, Gal responds that Don is dead now and can finally shut up.



Producer Jeremy Thomas later remembered his experience making the film:[2]

Sexy Beast was the beginning of a new phase for me of working with first time filmmakers. Jonathan Glazer was a television commercials director in the UK, and a wonderful talent. We were sent this script which he was attached to, and out came this wonderful film, it was very stimulating having a first time talent... The dialogue as you see in this film is exceptional. I had never read a script like it, and I thought, this has got to be made, it was very difficult to get insurance on the film actually. When the American studio bought the film, their legal department said: "You cannot make this." It has something like 300 uses of the word "cunt", and 400 "fucks", but somehow it passed the censorship and got out there.


The film has received very positive reviews, currently holding an aggregate rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 117 reviews.[3] Another aggregate review website, Metacritic, has given it a rating of 79%, a rating which classifies the film as receiving "Generally favorable reviews" by the website's rating standards,[4] it received high praise from writers at the San Francisco Chronicle,[5] Entertainment Weekly,[6] Slate,[7] Rolling Stone[8] and the Los Angeles Times,[9] but was panned by Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post who described some of the film's moments as "Ben Kingsley spraying saliva-lubricated variants of the F-word into the atmosphere like anti-aircraft fire for 10 solid minutes."[10] It was also described as "often enjoyable" but "massively uneven" by Variety.[11]

Awards and honours[edit]

Kingsley's performance received a majority of the accolades given to Sexy Beast, winning Best Supporting Actor awards from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics, Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, Florida Film Critics Circle, San Diego Film Critics Society, Southeastern Film Critics Association and the Toronto Film Critics Association. He also was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award (losing to Ian McKellen for his performance in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), a Golden Globe and an Academy Award (losing both to Jim Broadbent for his performance in Iris). The film also won Best Director and Best Screenplay from the British Independent Film Awards and Special Recognition ("For excellence in film making") from the National Board of Review.


Original music by English electronic band South and also Spanish composer/saxophonist Roque Baños. Dean Martin's version of "Sway" accompanies the film's end credits. The soundtrack also includes "Peaches" by The Stranglers, "Cuba" by The Gibson Brothers, "G-Spot" by Wayne Marshall, "Daddy Rollin' Stone" by Derek Martin, and Henry Mancini's "Lujon" (from the 1961 LP "Mr. Lucky Goes Latin").


  1. ^ "Sir Ben's Sexy honour". BBC News. 31 December 2001. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  2. ^ "Jeremy Thomas - And I'm still a fan". Berlinale Talents. 29 October 2010. Archived from the original on 4 June 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sexy Beast (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Sexy Beast at Metacritic. Accessed 4 February 2008
  5. ^ Wesley, Morris (15 March 2002). "Kingsley a beauty in 'Sexy Beast' / His maniacal sadist adds frenzied edge". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  6. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (22 June 2001). "Sexy Beast (2001)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  7. ^ Edelstein, David (22 June 2001). "They Pull Me Back In". Slate. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  8. ^ Travers, Peter (15 June 2001). "Sexy Beast". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  9. ^ Turan, Kenneth. Sexy Beast: Stylish, but Very Nasty, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2001. Accessed 4 February 2008.
  10. ^ Hunter, Stephen (22 June 2001). "'Sexy Beast': Gandhi Goes Gangsta". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  11. ^ Elley, Derek (21 September 2000). "Review: 'Sexy Beast'". Variety. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 

External links[edit]