The Limey

Before Steven Soderbergh made Erin Brockovich and Traffic, becoming the first American director to be nominated for two directing Oscars in the same year, he made two brilliant crime films. He’d tried his hand at the genre before with The Underneath, a remake of the classic noir Criss Cross, but the film suffered from cool emotional detachment, phony Hollywood technique (his later films are much more intimate) and a horribly miscast leading lady. Out of Sight, adapted by Scott Frank from Elmore Leonard’s novel has found cult popularity among his fans and stands as one of the best Leonard adaptations and featuring J. Lo in her best screen performance. The second crime film he made is the forgotten sleeper, The Limey—a revenge film about a British man recently released from his third stint in prison who flies to L.A. to get revenge after his daughter Jenny was killed. Terence Stamp is wonderful as Wilson, (a.k.a. The Limey), and Soderbergh, a fan of crime films from the British New Wave (he’s even written a book on the subject) turns what could’ve been a simple Charles Bronson styled revenge film into a cinematic poem—a violent art film with beautiful images and inventive editing that keeps jumping forward and backward in time. Stylistically audacious—the film is one of the only ones in memory that introduces Jenny’s boyfriend, played wonderfully by Peter Fonda, in almost a music video styled montage. There’s no dialogue, just a song playing that says everything with the images of this Golden Man who may be hiding a darker side behind all of his wealth. Providing excellent support, Lesley Ann Warren and Luis Guzman play two of Jenny’s closest friends, who venture along with Stamp while he goes looking for revenge, only to discover that there may be a few things in his past that led to his daughter’s demise. Well-worth seeing and one of those inventive “little” Soderbergh films that help breathe life into an old genre and remind you just how masterful he can be when he isn’t just making those Ocean’s Eleven style movies for the paycheck.