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Headscratchers / Lucky Number Slevin

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    The gangs 

  • So the Boss and the Rabbi used to be in the same gang, but fell out after a power struggle... yet their subsequent rival gangs are both Generic Ethnic Crime Gangs. Was the original organisation equal-parts Jews and black guys, or did they each have a massive re-hire following the schism?
    • This Troper just figures after all this time and all the fighting they've had to rehire a lot.
    • There must also have been a time when they were not working together... so maybe at one point they pooled ressources and when it all fell apart... well, ressources were unpooled.
    • Also, remember that you only see three or four members of each gang, and only the Boss's and the Rabbi's most trusted mooks.

    Max's bet 

  • Max was an idiot. The bookie offered him 2.1-to-1 on a 20K bet on the horse race, while the odds at the track were 7-to-1 or 9-to-1 (I can't remember, it doesn't really matter, as the point is they were significantly higher). So in the end, he owes 22K to "very bad people." Had he gone to the track, he could have bet a fraction of that amount to gain the same profit, would have only been in debt to a legitimate gambling facility, and would have been betting an amount (4-5K) he probably could have gotten in cash in time to make the bet. Even if he had lost, the smaller amount would probably have been an easier burden to shoulder by the family. So, for the same reward, he could have risked (comparatively) next to nothing. He was, in the end, an idiot.
    • That's not really a headscratcher. Max was just an idiot. Nothing more to it. The moviemakers probably realized this as well.
    • No, no, no. There is no loan, per se. Max places a bet with the bookie for twenty thousand at the bookie's posted odds which are much worse than the track, under the assumption Max can cover the losses if they occur. (The bookie asks him as much.) The bookie's not going to just give him twenty grand and then ask him to place a bet with him at worse odds.
    • The key is what the bookie says to Max. The bookie offers terrible odds, Max objects ("The racing form says 9-to-1!"), but the bookie says that he'll get the good odds IF the spread sticks (which isn't guaranteed, unlike the bookie's odds). He also said that he would take the bet and "lay it off" - meaning that he's accepting Max's wager for 20 grand without requiring the 20 grand up front, because basically the new outfit (whatever The Rabbi and The Boss' new syndicate was called) was going to front Max the 20 grand. Max being able to pay off the bookie and collect his money (minus "the juice," the bookie's cut on the bet) is dependent on his horse winning the race. The point is that Max doesn't have the money for a legitimate bet, which is why he's seeing a bookie in the first place. (The other reason to see a bookie is if gambling is illegal in your state.) What makes Max a fool is not the odds, but that he didn't have the money to pay the bookie (or more importantly, the mob) in the first place.
      • It likely wouldn't have mattered if he had won; Max and his wife were killed to set an example to anyone trying to get a piece of The Boss and The Rabbi's action. Anyone else, they might've just killed Max as he set the bet, or at least broke his legs and demanded the money. But they went through the trouble of killing not only him, but his wife and son, and even the bookie who took the bet. Had the horse not broke a leg and won, would they still kill him? Maybe not, but it was in their early days as gangsters making a name for themselves, so they didn't want anyone reaping any rewards off their work. Remember, in the time between Max went to watch the one race and running back to his car, Henry was already gone. Goodkat was already there and gone, so the Boss and the Rabbi had already decided what to do before the race even happened.

    The Rabbi and Hebrew 

  • The thing that bugs me is that one can assume that the Rabbi, being a rabbi, speaks Hebrew. Yet he never picks up on the connection between Goodkat and Slevin. I mean one shows up after many years with news about his rival, and he's interested in, for unknown reasons, a young man who's last name is Hebrew for "bad dog".
    • The Rabbi never finds out about the Hebrew last name: until the very end, he thinks Slevin is Nick Fisher. In fact, the only people in the movie to whom Slevin mentions the Hebrew name are the cops. It's still a bit risky, as the cops could have deduced the meaning earlier than they did, but presumably Slevin counts on the cops not being able to arrest him on such a flimsy basis.
    • The Rabbi knows Slevin isn't Nick Fisher, but he doesn't make any attempt finding out who he is.

    Batman Gambit 

  • Once Slevin "became" Nick Fisher, how did he know for sure that Morgan Freeman was going to send him on a mission to kill The Fairy?
    • Well first of all the events played out like so, both the boss and rabbis bookies were killed, then slevin killed the boss's son. boss calls goodkat, it is goodkat who says he needs nick fisher. having looked through both books for someone who appears in both and has a lot of debt, nick fisher fits both criteria. its all there in the film during the chess scene goodkat explains his plan to boss, about his plan to make it look like two gay guys comitting double suicide.
      • It's also hinted at earlier when we first see that Goodkat is working with the Boss, who's surprised that he's using Slevin.
    • In reality, the only real gamble once the two concocted their revenge scheme was that Goodcat would get hired and not some other specialist.
    • Not much of a gamble considering Yitzhok's protection and the fact that Goodkat is, in his words, "a world-class assassin." Goodkat was likely the only person The Boss COULD call.
      • Even more so the fact that the Goodkat is specialized in "doing the jobs that no one else wants," meaning that for a hit on the Rabbi's son, no other hitman would be dumb or crazy enough to do it due to the high risk that comes with it or the morality behind it. We see an example of this with Goodkat and the young Slevin, with Goodkat hired to kill him because no other hitman would have the guts to do it. Unfortunately for the Boss and the Rabbi, for that moment, he was someone who couldn't kill a kid either. So, since Goodkat's reputation would still stand as someone who still did such jobs. So, the Boss hiring Goodkat is no surprise, as he's hiring a man who specializes in hits that no one else would be sane enough to do.


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