April 12, 2010

Justify My Netflix: The Limey

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

The Limey

Today's movie: The Limey, 1999 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is one of those great forgotten films from Steven Soderbergh's "lost years" -- i.e. the years between the 1989 big smash sex, lies and videotape and the 2000 big smash Erin Brockovich, in which he turned in a series of smart studio genre projects with little fanfare. And I've always been curious about the seven films he made during that time period, so recently decided to finally start getting them off my queue.

The reality: Smart and entertaining, if not a little pretentious. In fact, I can see now why Soderbergh's '90s films received little mainstream attention at the time they were made, if The Limey is any indication; because this is essentially a pretty standard noir story (British career criminal flies to the US to investigate his daughter's murder and take revenge), but is edited in a Pulp Fiction style non-linear way, with audience members learning most of the information making up the plot out of the order that the events actually happen, and with Soderbergh cutting back and forth between moments with us barely having a clue at first how they all fit together. And that's fine, of course, because Soderbergh is a master filmmaker, and still manages to put a project together that's intelligent and funny and very violent, just like a good noir should be; but it's easy to see why a mainstream audience might find this too artsy a movie, while an artsy crowd would find it too mainstream. A good movie for completists to catch, as well as fans of both noirs and star Terence Stamp, but casual fans might want to instead stick to the admittedly more brilliant films he's been churning out with regularity ever since the turn of the 21st century.

Strangest piece of trivia: The flashback scenes concerning Stamp's youth were taken from another actual movie, Ken Loach's 1967 Poor Cow, which is why they look so convincing.

Worth your time? Yes, for fans of ultra-artsy noirs

Filed by Jason Pettus at 3:28 PM, April 12, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |