Sexy Beast Film Review: Unleashing Ben Kingsley’s Menacing Performance

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The Unexpected Story of Retirement in Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast

The Intriguing World of Crime Movies

When we think of crime movies, our minds often wander to the romanticized Italian Mafia, the tragic narratives of hood movies, or the exhilarating heist films. These stories, with their familiar themes, have become rewatchable classics that have gained iconic status in our culture. However, amidst all the action, one question remains unanswered: what happens to these characters after the climax of their criminal endeavors? What lives do they lead in their retirement? In the movie “Sexy Beast,” director Jonathan Glazer explores this aspect of criminalism that is rarely considered, subverting our expectations and exploring into the uncharted territory of retirement in the world of crime.

A Spanish Villa and a New Beginning

The film opens in a picturesque Spanish villa where Gal, played by Ray Winstone, enjoys a life of leisure with his wife DeeDee (Amanda Redman) and their friends Aitch (Cavan Kendall) and Rita (Julianne White). Their idyllic existence is disrupted when news arrives of Don’s (Ben Kingsley) impending arrival. Don, a psychopathic figure known for his curses and intimidation, is determined to recruit Gal back into the world of British crime for a major heist. However, Gal has no interest in revisiting his criminal past, setting the stage for an intense conflict. The brilliance of “Sexy Beast” lies in its simplicity: Don wants Gal to do a job, and Gal wants no part in it. This straightforward premise allows Glazer to create a compelling blend of comedy and tension, enhancing the film with his slick direction, captivating music, and stunning cinematography.

Intricate Characters and Brilliant Twists

One of the most impressive aspects of “Sexy Beast” is the depth of its characters, which is masterfully conveyed through Louis Mellis and David Scinto’s script. While the motivations of the characters may seem overt, the dialogue and contrasting moments provide a deeper understanding of their complexities. Aitch, initially depicted as a verbose storyteller, becomes visibly uncomfortable and mum when Don is around, showcasing his unease. DeeDee’s warmth dissipates in Don’s presence, leaving behind only disdain. Rita, like a timid deer sensing a lurking predator, remains fearful of Don’s sly advances. Gal’s charm and charisma prove ineffective against Don’s dominating presence, allowing the other characters to react to the sheer power he exudes. Glazer, through the script and stylized direction, successfully develops these characters, weaving their stories into a captivating narrative.

A Remarkable Cast Delivering Exceptional Performances

“Sexy Beast” features a remarkable cast, with each actor delivering an exceptional performance. Ray Winstone, primarily known for his roles as a tough guy in gangster films, showcases his versatility as Gal, a nervous and washed-up hood. Winstone skillfully balances physical comedy with vulnerability, particularly in a scene where he converses with DeeDee, highlighting the high stakes of the film. It is his softer side that resonates with the audience, evoking a desire to see him escape the clutches of the criminal world.

However, the true highlight of the film is Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of the vulgar and terrifying Don. Known for his virtuous role as Gandhi, Kingsley’s performance as a psychopath is a testament to his incredible range as an actor. He fully embraces the role, employing a range of awkward mannerisms, cockney slang, and venomous dialogue that is both mesmerizing and chilling. Kingsley’s monologues and internal moments reveal the true depravity of Don’s character, creating the stakes, tension, and dark humor that propel the film forward. His performance in “Sexy Beast” is not only commendable within the gangster movie genre but stands among the greatest performances of all time.

An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment

“Sexy Beast” presents more than just a captivating story and remarkable performances. It delves into the existential crisis faced by its characters, particularly Gal and Don, as they confront their own pasts and question the meaning of their existence. Gal yearns for a life beyond his criminal history, a desire for personal enlightenment that goes against the expectations of the crime genre. The philosophical impasse between Gal and Don explores far more than a mere work dispute; it delves into the fundamental differences in their worldviews. Glazer’s film presents a thought-provoking exploration of these themes, resonating with audiences long after the credits roll.

A Noteworthy Film Demanding Your Attention

“Sexy Beast” demands the attention of every viewer, as it defies expectations and keeps audiences engaged from start to finish. Glazer’s ability to subvert traditional crime film tropes and deliver a riveting narrative ensures that one never loses focus on the screen. Beyond the characters, story, and themes, the film invites introspection, raising questions about our own work-life balance and whether it truly aligns with our desires. It holds mirror to our own existential dilemmas, leaving us pondering our own paths long after the film concludes.


In conclusion, “Sexy Beast” is a remarkable crime film that surpasses expectations with its unique exploration of retirement in the criminal underworld. Glazer’s exceptional direction, combined with a phenomenal cast led by Ben Kingsley and Ray Winstone, elevates the film to extraordinary heights. Through nuanced characterization and unexpected plot twists, the movie transcends the conventional crime genre, leaving a lasting impact on viewers. Ultimately, “Sexy Beast” challenges us to contemplate the deeper aspects of our own lives and the choices we make.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is “Sexy Beast” a violent movie?

While “Sexy Beast” contains moments of tension and violence, it does not rely solely on graphic scenes to drive its narrative. The film’s brilliance lies in its engaging story, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, which resonate on a deeper level.

2. What makes Ben Kingsley’s performance in “Sexy Beast” stand out?

Ben Kingsley’s performance in “Sexy Beast” stands out due to his incredible range as an actor. Known for his virtuous roles, Kingsley’s portrayal of the psychopathic Don showcases his ability to embody complex and terrifying characters with remarkable skill and nuance.

3. How does “Sexy Beast” differ from traditional crime films?

“Sexy Beast” distinguishes itself from traditional crime films by exploring the rarely discussed aspect of retirement in the criminal world. The film delves into the existential dilemmas faced by its characters, presenting a refreshing take on the genre and providing a deeper emotional resonance.

4. Does “Sexy Beast” offer more than just entertainment?

Absolutely. “Sexy Beast” not only captivates with its engaging story and exceptional performances but also prompts viewers to reflect on their own lives. The film raises questions about personal desires, work-life balance, and the choices we make, leaving a lasting impact beyond mere entertainment.

5. Where can I watch “Sexy Beast”?

“Sexy Beast” is now available to watch digitally and on demand, offering audiences the opportunity to experience this extraordinary crime film from the comfort of their own homes.