Ghandi Goes Gangster

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?Sexy Beast?Fox Searchlight PicturesDirected by Jonathan GlazerProduced by Jeremy ThomasScreenplay by Louis Mellis and David ScintoStarring Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane and Amanda RedmanRated: R3.5 stars (out of four)

When someone mentions Don, everyone in the room freezes. He?s crazy, he always gets his way (if he doesn?t, it isn?t pretty) and he has disturbing obsessions.

Ben Kingsley plays Don. Yes, the man who played Ghandi plays one of the most frightening characters of the year.

Gal (Ray Winstone) is living the high life in Spain. He used to be a gangster, but he retired from his life of crime to work on his tan, lounge by the pool and love his wife?a former porn star.

Then, out of no where, a boulder rolls from a mountain into Gal?s back yard and crashes in his swimming pool. That?s the least of his worries, though. Don just called his friends to let them know he was flying in to make Gal a business proposition.

Don wants Gal in on a job which, when seen, is a hilarious demonstration of a completely illogical plan that somehow works.

But Gal isn?t concerned with the plan; he?s concerned with how to get out of it without pissing off Don. This seems impossible and, to make matters worse, Don begins to terrorize Gal?s friends and wife (Amanda Redman).

Why does the plan include Gal? It doesn?t really need to, but Don probably needed an excuse to visit Spain so he could see Gal?s friend?s wife, Jackie (Julianne White), with whom Don is obsessed.

The story unfolds gradually, but always seems urgent. Music-video director Jonathan Glazer shows in his feature-length debut that his pacing is just as good as his visual style.

Even when Glazer detours briefly toward the end, he uses an interesting structure to come to a climax that includes two events and keeps Don in the story. After all, the haunting mad man who presumably has connections that will ensure death is the heart of ?Sexy Beast.?

As the lead character, Winstone is just as good as Kingsley, although the latter will receive the most attention for his flashier role. Winstone plays Gal as a guy who didn?t turn to crime because he loved doing it, but because he wanted quick cash. He?s happy relaxing by the pool.

But like the boulder, Don crashes into Gal?s life and threatens his peace. Gal can tell Don ?no? forever, but Don isn?t going to listen.

?Sexy Beast? taps into the fear of a life being invaded. While one?s past may dictate the level of horror, there?s always the chance of being forced out of retirement for ?one last job.?

When your past results in a guy like Don knocking on your door, you?re in trouble. You have to decide if you should tell him he?s a man with serious mental problems and a crush on a married woman, or just do the job.

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