Although not the debut for either director Paul McGuigan or writer Jason Smilovic, it is very early in both of their careers. Hopefully, however, it is a sign of the excellence to come. The script is creative and different from your typcial crime/mafia/rough-rich-guy-in-a-skyscraper but unfortunately it feels like Hollywood may have gotten a little too much creative control; unfortunately all to common with the up and comers. The script is not particularly dumbed down, but a bit too flashy. You'll recognize the familiar overtouched gloss in the first few minutes. The love story between Hartnett and Liu feels forced and secondary; nearly irrelevant to the storyline.
The cinematography is excellent, although uninventive. The angles and techniques may have been imagined by forgoers, but they are not tired or stolen. There is always some question as to who deserves the credit for this attribute; director or cinematographer. Fortunately in this case, McGuigan and cinematographer Peter Sova have worked closely together in the past. In fact Sova has framed all of McGuigan's movies to date; resulting in a well envisioned and shot picture.
The acting is good. After all, we are familiar with all these actors... a little bit too familiar. Each and every character fits their stereotype and typecasting to a T. When Ben Kingsley was on screen I actually felt like I was watching Magneto in X-Men. Bruce Willis' slow paced rough and tough Sin City, Unbreakable, Sixth-Sense and every other movie he has been involved with for the past 10 years style was exasperated and nauseatingly annoying. Even Morgan Freeman, an actor I greatly appreciate, appeared annoyed that he was restricted from bringing anything new.
All in all, Lucky Number Slevin is worth renting, but keep your eyes out for better work by McGuigan or Smilovic.