Directed by Paul McGuigan, LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN is a mistaken identity thriller starring Josh Hartnett as a guy who ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. With boldly colored sets covered in graphic wallpaper, the film has an almost comicbook-like feel, the emphasis being on visual entertainment rather than believability. When Slevin (Hartnett) shows up at his friend Nick's apartment in Manhattan, Nick is nowhere to be found. After meeting Nick's sharp and flirty neighbor, Lindsey (Lucy Liu), Slevin is kidnapped by two thugs and taken to meet the Boss (Morgan Freeman). Explaining that he is not Nick gets him nowhere, as the Boss and his arch rival, the Rabbi (Ben Kingsley), both pull Slevin (a wiseguy who spends much of the film in a lavender towel) deeper and deeper into a complicated underworld of murder and revenge. The clever dialogue and romance that grows between Hartnett and Liu gives the film a lighthearted charm. Even when orchestrating cold-blooded murder, the film's lead villains never seem too threatening. This is due in large part to the strong tongue-in-cheek performances of Bruce Willis, Ben Kingsley, and Morgan Freeman.
Many of the film's plot twists rely on camera tricks and quick editing, which are used to deliberately confuse the viewer. While the storyline is convoluted and the film falls into a self-explanatory trap near the end, the world of LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN is never meant to be taken too seriously. Displaying a Tarantino-like self-awareness, the film makes frequent references to James Bond and vintage cinema, and contains such strong visual elements that viewers are forced to notice each character's surroundings. The film is incredibly stylish and old-fashioned in this way, with particular attention paid to each villain's dwelling, and with the production design often saying more than the characters themselves.