A Jewish gangster and a good cat walk into a high rise…

I was lucky enough to catch a preview screening of Lucky Number Slevin last night, and even more lucky to be able to chat with director Paul McGuigan afterwards. The film isn’t Jewish, per se, but it does feature Sir Ben Kingsley as “The Rabbi,” a Jewish crime boss who actually is a rabbi. An all-star cast comes together to tell a very humorous mistaken identity crime caper that turns into a deadly serious story about revenge.
And again, not that I noticed much Jewish overtone beyond the Jewish mobsters, but there was one line from the film that stuck with me. Kingsley is asked how he can reconcile being both a rabbi and a crime boss. He pulls out a sawed off shotgun, points it at the film’s protagonist and says that in Judaism there are only three things you can’t do to save the life of a person, yourself included. Long story short, and in the (probably paraphrased due to bad memory) words of Sir Ben, “Me killing you before you can kill me would be… acceptable.”
The story is ultimately a mother of a revenge narrative that subtly riffs off this line. OK, there ends my attempts to explain how this is really a Jewish film. The full review is here and a few clips from the film, including portions of the scene with the Rabbi and the shotgun can be viewed here (left toolbar).

2 thoughts on “A Jewish gangster and a good cat walk into a high rise…

  1. Music was actually great. After the film, the director was actually speaking to that. He’d chosen a score over a soundtrack of source music (a la Tarantino), and the results were quite good. They were noticeably good without being intrusive, and it definitely worked for the cool vibe of the flick. It was also a nice change of pace from the musical stylings of West Coast surfer cool and spaghetti western flicks.

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