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The Limey (1999)

2 Ratings: 2.0
A movie directed by Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh's follow-up to his sexy thrillerOut of Sightis an equally stylish but far more austere crime drama, a work of memory that mixes flashbacks, flashforwards, and ruminations on the present into an invigorating cinematic quilt. Terence … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Steven Soderbergh
1 review about The Limey (1999)

A hidden masterpiece

  • Jun 16, 2008
Rating:
+5
After watching "The Limey" I was in awe of what I had beheld. This movie was dynamic and mute simultaneously. The genre of this film is a neo-noir, in other words a modern version of those crime/mysteries films made back in the golden days of cinema. These old school movies were black and white, "noir" is French for "black", hence the term film noir.

A thousand apologies for the deviation on my cinema history lesson, I will return to the review at hand. I have to say that I am on the fence with Steve Soderbergh's work. Some of his movies are great; I loved the remake of Solaris in 2002, "Out of Sight" and "Traffic". Consequently, I hated all of the "Ocean" films and "Full Frontal". So I wasn't sure what to except from "The Limey". In the end, I feel Soderbergh hit the nail on the head. The acting, editing, cinematography, acting and story were stellar.

The plot is simplistic; Terence Stamp plays a British ex-con who has traveled to Los Angeles to "investigate" the murder of his estranged daughter Jenny. In the process, he hooks up with some of his daughter's friends (played well by Lesley Ann Warren and Luis Guzman) in order to solve the conundrum of his Jenny's death in a very conspiratorial fashion. Jenny was involved with a ritzy music producer (played smoothly by Peter Fonda), who appears to have his hand in her death.

What I thought was sort of neat about this film is the use of flashbacks. The movie "Poor Cow" was used in order to provide flashback's to Terence Stamp's character. "Poor Cow" featured Stamp at a much younger age and worked well with "The Limey". I don't think I have ever seen this technique used in a movie before. As for the editing, I found it amazing. It might annoy some viewers; it is somewhat non-liner in fashion. The editing sort of displaces some scenes in the continuity of the film and/or foreshadows events. There is also a distressed emphasis of dialogue with the editing. Characters will be in one setting and then switch to another, while the dialogue is still going. There might even be a scene where the dialogue is going and none of the characters are speaking. It reminded me somewhat of the movie "Memento".

I have heard some criticism of Terence Stamp's character in this movie. That he displayed neither emotion nor it didn't seem plausible that he would be that intense about finding who did or didn't kill his daughter. Also it seemed odd that Jenny's friends would aid her father that Jenny herself was never totally copasetic with. I believe the retort to that theory is that both Jenny's friends and father are aiding one and other out of restitution for their lack of involvement in what happened to Jenny. Perhaps, from their perception, they could have done more to prevent Jenny's ominous outcome. As for the end of the movie, I had to sit and really think about it. Perhaps I am being a bit too quixotic, but once I processed and digested this film, I felt very gratified with the conclusion.

I suppose I can understand why someone might not like this movie. It isn't a shoot out revenge film and there isn't non-stop action in it. Nevertheless if one is able to get submerged in the story, they might find that this 90 minute or so movie goes by quickly. I also found the soundtrack amazing and I ordered it as soon as the movie ended. The score was done by Cliff Martinez, who has scored many of Soderbergh's films, including the hypnotic score to Solaris (2002).

My only regret about "The Limey" is that I hadn't seen it sooner.

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"A hidden masterpiece"
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