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(Widescreen Edition)

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN ($29) is a film that opened to somewhat mixed reviews when it played theatrically, but considering the talented cast it was a movie I knew I had to see. Decidedly dark, with moments that I could only describe as blackly comic, LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN is one of the better crime movies that Iíve seen in recent years. The basic premise of LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN concerns an innocent bystander drawn into a mob war. LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN stars Josh Hartnett as Slevin Kelevra, a guy having a really terrible run of bad luckÖ After losing his job, his apartment and girlfriend, Slevin comes to New York to visit an old friend where he is immediately mugged and loses his wallet and all of his identification.

Showing up at his friendís place, Slevin finds the door open and lets himself in and takes a shower. While still wearing nothing but a towel and slippers, Slevin is mistaken for his friend by two goons that come to the door and hauled off to meet a crime lord known only as The Boss (Morgan Freeman) to whom his friend owes $96,000.00. Unable to prove his real identity, Slevin is given three options, (1) repay the debt, (2) kill the son of a rival mobster known as The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley), or (3) wind up dead. The bad situation is further complicated, when it turns out that Slevinís so-called friend is also indebted to The Rabbi, not mention that a there is hitman named Goodkat (Bruce Willis) who is playing both ends of this bad situation against the middle, of which, Slevin is the definite center point. The cast of LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN also features Lucy Liu as the girl who becomes romantically involved with Slevin in the midst of the chaos and Stanley Tucci as the cop trying to figure out what part our hapless hero plays in this mob saga.

The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment has made LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a pretty terrific looking transfer that delivers a sharp, nicely detailed picture. Colors are strongly rendered and appear completely stable. Additionally, the flesh tones are usually quite appealing. Blacks are on the money and the whites are stable. Both the levels of contrast and shadow detail are top of the line. The film elements used for the transfer are virtually pristine and there is little apparent grain during the presentation. Digital compression artifacts are nicely camouflaged.

As expected, LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN features a well mixed Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Sure, there are sections of the film that comprised of nothing but dialogue; however, once the action kicks in, so does the soundtrack. The pistol packing moments are strongly mixed, and take good advantage of the discrete nature of the Dolby Digital format. Fidelity is solid; the musical component sounds great and the sound effects are pretty convincing. Dialogue is completely understandable and voices sound natural. The bass channel is deep and effective. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few supplements. The DVD includes two separate running audio commentaries; the first features director Paul McGuigan, while the second includes actors Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu, along with screenwriter Jason Smilovic. Four Deleted Scenes including an Alternate Ending are included with optional directorís commentary, as is the thirteen minute program Making Lucky Number Slevin, plus a Theatrical Trailer. Bonus Trailers for other Weinstein Company titles close out the discís supplements.

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN is a cool crime drama that benefits from strong performances and moments best described as darkly comic. The Weinstein Companyís DVD delivers a classy presentation and a few nice extras. Recommended.



Lucky Number Slevin (Widescreen Edition) (2006)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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