FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: “The Limey” stars Terence Stamp (Superman II, Valkyrie), Lesley Ann Warren (Clue, The Cool Kids [TV series]), Luis Guzmán (Traffic, Boogie Nights), Peter Fonda (Easy Rider, 3:10 to Yuma ), Barry Newman (Vanishing Point, Bowfinger), Joe Dallesandro (Cry-Baby, Heat ), Nicky Katt (Boiler Room, Dazed and Confused), Amelia Heinle (The Young and the Restless [TV series], All My Children [TV series]), Melissa George (Hunted, Home and Away [TV series]), Matthew Kimbrough (Catch Me If You Can, American Beauty), and William Lucking (Red Dragon, The World’s Fastest Indian). It is directed by Steven Soderbergh (Sex Lies and Videotape, Contagion) and written by Lem Dobbs (Dark City, Haywire). After learning that his daughter died in a car accident, a British ex-con (Stamp) travels to Los Angeles in hopes of finding out if that was her true death.
If you thought you’ve seen every crime drama/thriller, you’ve clearly never heard of “The Limey,” Steven Soderbergh’s 1999 Indie film about a British felon who comes to Los Angeles in an attempt to figure out the true cause of his daughter’s recent death. Utilizing unique editing techniques, great cinematography, and powerhouse performances from the likes of Terrance Stamp and Peter Fonda, “The Limey” invites viewers to experience a joy ride that takes patience for a big pay-off. Before today, I never heard of the release. Just like “Aloys,” the foreign flick I recently reviewed, I saw it in my feed on a movie app and decided to give it a go. The take-away? It’s an experimental picture that takes time for one to truly understand its genius. “The Limey” is by no means conventional. Sure, the story may ring a few bells, but the execution of just about everything separates it from any other film you may have seen. How? The editing. I’ve never seen editing like this, combining the stylings of documentary, non-linear, and narrative storytelling to bring an experience that may seem jarring at first, but soon becomes wonderful. While you’re watching one scene, the dialogue will be placed in voice over on top of shots that may happen seconds later or the end of the feature. What you think might be moments that happen simultaneously actually happen further down the road, and for some crazy reason it works! They offer emotional meaning and depth in the moment, but once you get to them again down the road they offer up something different; how one shot used multiple times to add various meanings is insane to think about, and I loved it. Of course, it’s hard to get used to at first. Because this feature intercuts several shots throughout many scenes, the genre often feels like that of a mockumentary without the interviews, which left me scratching my head quite a bit. It’s something different, and it was easy to see why many people who reviewed it hated the feel. However, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and let it play out more, and sure enough I was locked in by the second act, never letting go. Terrence Stamp’s Wilson is a simplistic character, but his delivery and execution gives him a strong, emotional presence. He steals every scene he’s in, and how everything escalates for him towards the end makes for a terrific character arc. Another cool add-on is how flashbacks of Wilson are taken from an actual film Stamp starred in as a younger man, “Poor Cow.” I thought they got a great look-a-like to play him, but one critic pointed it out and I couldn’t have been more blown away. It gives a meta feel to it all, especially since Stamp’s character in that film was also a thief. There’s a lot to take in with “The Limey,” and certainly warrants a second viewing to fully take in the girth of the project. Everyone did a great job in the performance category of things. Fonda played a good foe, with Luis Guzmán portraying a solid sidekick. There’s good humor in this as well, with the movie finding a nice balance in its writing. I enjoyed the chemistry between characters and how their journey’s were tracked. There were some people that didn’t offer much to me as a viewer (the hitmen and DEA agents), but overall I was entertained by the gamut of characters the director had at his disposal. From a technical standpoint, the cinematography was also fantastic, and was blended greatly with the editing, particularly in the flashback sequences (that weren’t ripped from “Poor Cow”). I liked the effects they used in this, and some shots were just awesome. All around, “The Limey” is an enjoyable experience that escalates to a beautiful ending. If I were to state my gripes, it would be how slow the beginning is to get things going, as well as those few characters I mentioned earlier. They didn’t have much to them, but honestly it doesn’t matter all too much. These are really just the nitty gritty of cons. Above all, I was just thrilled to see something done differently, and “The Limey” has a lot to offer. If you’re looking for something unique and/or experimental, I recommend you see it. FINAL SCORE: 92%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: