The Wrong Man

 
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Written by:Jason Smilovic
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci
Released: November 9, 2006
Grade: B+

The Wrong Man, released in America under the title, Lucky Number Slevin, is a craftily written tale of mistaken identity.  Slevin Kelevra (Hartnett) recently lost his job, got kicked out his termite infested apartment and found his girlfriend sleeping with another man (her excuse is priceless).  Looking to change his fortunes, Slevin has flown to New York to visit an old friend, Nick Fisher.

On setting foot in The Big Apple, Slevin’s luck is about to go from bad to worse.  After getting mugged en route from the airport, he arrives at Nick’s apartment to find the front door wide open.  Nick is no where to be found.  His excitable neighbour, Lindsey (Liu), suspects foul play and wants to investigate further.

The mystery deepens when two oafish looking goons turn up at the apartment.  They think that Slevin is Nick and have come to collect a $96,000 gambling debt which is outstanding.  They don’t believe Slevin cry of innocence and so they take him to meet The Boss (Freeman).  The Boss threatens does buy his story either but is prepared to offer him an out.  If he can kill the son of a rival crime lord known as The Rabbi (Kingsley), the debt will be waived.

There’s a lot more to this story but I can’t continue on.  It’s not that I don’t want to spoil it, rather it would take me many more paragraphs to describe the convoluted plot.  I’d only confuse you.  This characteristic of the film is both a positive and negative.  I love a well written movie and the interaction between these characters is fantastic.  The one-liners and metaphors are incredibly well thought out.  There’s certainly no room to ad-lib.

On the other hand, the story is so complex, that it takes a long time to explain all the twists and turns in the end.  It’s not that I didn’t like the ending but I’d have preferred to see something sharper that is wrapped up a little quicker.

The cast is strong with all pulling an equal weight.  It boosts my opinions of both Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu, two actors who I think have talent but who have trouble finding the right roles.

In the tradition of Brick and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Wrong Man is a nice blend of mystery and humour.