The Limey
by Chris

Normally I don't like movies about fruit, but I was dragged to this film by some friends that are BIG fans of the genre. And I have to admit, I am glad. I -

OK, I apologize. That was a terrible beginning for a review of a serious movie. Let me start over. The Limey is a film by Steven Soderbergh, which, before 1998, might not have meant much. Yes, Soderbergh had given us the startling* and enjoyable Sex, Lies, and Videotape in 1989, but had not been able to reproduce the originality of that film in his following efforts.

 

However. In 1998, Soderbergh created a completely original film, Out of Sight, and I sat up in my chair again. And quite suddenly, knocking my popcorn to the floor. For this new film was nothing like his previous work, and it was GREAT! And it starred Jennifer Lopez, star of my Laminated List! The film went on to gain the coveted status of being placed on my Best of 98 list, along with He Got Game and Saving Private Ryan.

The Limey is a crime story / character drama done in very much the same style as Out of Sight. But where Out of Sight used the occasional bit of parallel editing or voice over, The Limey is rife with it. The movie sometimes lets the dialogue operate separately from the images. Shots from the beginning or seen again and again. Some scenes are shown twice, from two angles. The final words of the main character are also the first words we hear. The result is not so much a jumble of flashbacks, like I've made it sound, but a movie that is a more purely visual - and aural, although I hate that word - experience than usual.

 

And then there are the performances. Yowsa! Terence Stamp gives a performance that will effectively de-associate him from General Zod in my mind for all time, and that's no mean feat. I mean, come ON! Superman II! You merely have to realize that this is the same man that was in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to realize how great he is. And the same for Peter Fonda - there is no trace of Ulee from Ulee's Gold here.

 

However - in general, the more creativity that is taken with the editing, the less accessible the film is to some audiences. We're so used to watching cut and dried linear storytelling that a movie like this may not satisfy some viewers. If you think you may be this sort of viewer, then be warned. But if you're a big Stamp fan, or loved Out of Sight, check this out.


*At the time

 

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1999 Absurd Pamphlet Press