Saturday, 4 November 2017


The Limey | Steven Soderbergh, 1999

“She had a feeling about this last job, how long I’d get banged up for. Said she wouldn’t be around this time when I got out... and she wasn’t.”

Wilson, an Englishman just out of prison following a long stretch inside for armed robbery, flies to Los Angeles to investigate the mysterious death of his daughter, believing that she was murdered. He missed much of his daughter’s life because of his time in prison, never meeting her as an adult, and throughout his investigation, he's struck by memories of her. Echoes of their brief history as father and daughter flash into the present again and again but vanish as soon as they appear. A courtroom, a beach, a phone call, “daddy the friendly ghost”. Wilson is forced to re-live these moments of life as he confronts her death, the past bleeding into the present because there’s no way to change any of it now. He’ll never know his daughter as anything beyond these flickers, beyond photographs, beyond stories heard second or third hand. She’s all he had, and her absence leaves a void, a pain, a ghost to be avenged. His memories of her swirl together with his fantasies of killing the man he deems responsible, again and again, with slight variation. He walks through a crowded party, imagining himself pulling a gun on his daughter’s murderer: a shot to the chest replays as a shot to the elbow, and again as a shot to the head, blood spattering violently onto the wall behind his victim. Yet, now that he has the chance to do it, and however much he wants to, none of these fantasies are played out beyond his own mind. Is it the practicality of escaping a crowded room after shooting a man, or is he having second thoughts? An interior revenge story enriched by perspective and offering an insight into a grief-stricken psyche. Editing as emotion. Editing as empathy.

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