Review – The Limey (1999)
I recently picked up Groovy Movies at a discount book sale, and this film was featured in it. (It’s a great book for anyone else who loves the ’60s as much as I do) I’d also seen clips from the opening somewhere and really wanted to check it out. The unique style of non-linear editing and multi-plane narration make this a unique and daring film that is able to pull off so many things differently without losing a sense of plot or suspense.
The film follows Wilson, an English ex-con who comes to Los Angeles to investigate his daughter’s suspicious death in an auto accident.
We start with a great soundtrack, beginning the film with “The Seeker” by the Who and some original score that is quite experimental and modern in nature (but not in a distracting way), combined with stylish, loungey jazz. The film is suspenseful and exciting, but in more of a subdued, laid-back way (with periodic bursts of brilliant action scenes) , a lot like The Godfather. The sound design and sound editing are also quite well-done.
Terence Stamp is brilliant, as is the acting of his sidekick, Luis Guzman. Much like the film, he is calm and stoic until a situation necessitates his skills. He may be old, but he can still kick some ass. The action scenes are top-notch, the average fan won’t be disappointed.
Here’s an interesting tidbit that I noticed in the credits… the clips of young Wilson playing his guitar are actually videos of a young Terence Stamp from another film, Poor Cow from 1967 (which was Malcolm McDowell’s big screen debut; unfortunately all of his character’s scenes were cut from the film before its release.)
The film overall feels like it could be an artsy thriller from the ’70s (and I mean that in the best possible way). It has something for everyone, and the inner struggle of Wilson as a father is truly touching. Much like The Professional, The Limey strikes a great balance between action and calm, style and substance.
Availability: Region 1 and 2 DVD available. “Special Edition” Region 1 DVD also available.