CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • Production
  • 18
  • Crime, Drama
  • 1999
  • 88 mins

The Limey

The Limey

Synopsis

Stylish, fractured neo-noir from Steven Soderbergh. Tough-as-nails, murderous ex-con Terence Stamp journeys to LA in search of the people he believes killed his daughter

About

Steven Soderbergh's chic, tantalising revenge thriller is ample evidence of his adventurous and stylish instincts. The Limey is a conventional, noirish revenge story. But Soderbergh has shaped what might have been standard genre fare into an elliptical quasi-dreamscape, peopled with almost cipher characters and told via an arse-about-face structure reminiscent of New Wave auteurs like Bresson and Resnais. It's pleasingly at odds with the efficient but sometimes predictable Hollywood three-act model.

David Wilson (Stamp) is an ageing Cockney ex-con, a fish out of water in LA. He's here on the trail of an ageing smoothie record producer, Valentine (Fonda), who he believes has killed his daughter, Jenny, in a drug-deal cover-up. Once Valentine realises he's a target, he hires hit men to take out Wilson. What follows is a chaotic progress through the tripped-out LA streets, and then onto the post-hippy, moneyed paradise of Big Sur, with Wilson increasingly bent on implacable, murderous revenge.

After the crowd-pleasing success of Out Of Sight Soderbergh evidently felt he had earned the right to make a more stylistically adventurous film. The pleasure to had is not so much from the story as the way it is told, which is exemplified in the casting: Fonda and Stamp, of course, are both 1960s icons and their real lives inform the film's back story.

There is a simple, ingenious device of seeing Stamp in his earlier days, with inserted footage of him in Ken Loach's 1960s film, Poor Cow, where he also played a criminal called Dave. Fans of traditional storytelling virtues, like characters with depth, may object to some of The Limey's style-over-content conceits (the writer, Dobbs, certainly complained when he saw what Soderbergh had done to his story). But the film's lucid intelligence and compelling qualities put it up with Soderbergh's other successes, and confirm him as Hollywood's most versatile talent.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Luis Guzmán, Joe Dallesandro, Lesley Ann Warren, Terence Stamp, Peter Fonda, Barry Newman
  • Director: Steven Soderbergh
  • Screen Writer: Lem Dobbs
  • Producer: Scott Kramer, John Hardy
  • Photographer: Ed Lachman
  • Composer: Cliff Martinez

In a nutshell

Fractured, sophisticated and rewarding. The Limey is an arty, hypnotic tour de force.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 The Love Punch

    The Love Punch

    A divorced couple (Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson) plot to recover the retirement fund that was swindled away from them in Joel Hopkins romantic caper

  • Film4 Catch Me Daddy

    Catch Me Daddy

    Sameena Jabeen Ahmed stars as a girl on the run from her family with her drifter boyfriend in Daniel Wolfe's thriller

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share