Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: August 29, 2008 | Publication: MyMovies.Net | Author: Andy Dillon
Fast times, fast women and a faster lifestyle bordering on the downright dangerous. This is the loose definition of a RocknRolla. And of course this heady blend also perfectly describes Guy Ritchie‘s fourth foray into the London gangster scene. It‘s a winning return for Ritchie capped as it is by two career defining performances and should effortlessly dispel memories of "Revolver".
Needless to say there‘s a lot going on in "RocknRolla". Archie (Mark Strong), the narrator of the piece, along with his craggy boss Lenny (Tom Wilkinson) find themselves in league with the ‘new money‘, a Russian oligarch scooping up all the prime real estate in the capital. It‘s a relationship built on deceit, dodgy deals and distrust. In order to see the deal through, said oligarch has to free up £7 million – a large sum promptly taken off of his hands by his very own accountant (an impossibly beautiful Thandie Newton). Her ad–hoc heist is carried out by The Wild Bunch consisting of One Two (Gerard Butler), Mumbles (Idris Alba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy). Like with any Ritchie film, the guys on the street soon find themselves dancing with the devil – in this case tangled up in the case of the oligarch‘s lost ‘lucky‘ painting (which, on this evidence, is anything but). Just to top things off, rock star Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbel) is dead. Except he‘s not. He‘s living the life of the Anti–Riley in a crack den with naught but the ‘lucky‘ painting for company.
As ever, such a mash up of plots is told via Ritchie‘s patented style – using hyper real flourishes and flashbacks aplenty to cut to the overriding arc. Through the haze and the kaleidoscope of characters two performances really stand out head and shoulders above the rest. Mark Strong‘s Archie is the perfect picture of authority and restraint. His performance proves yet again that the versatile Strong is one of the…err strongest screen presences in the country. Similarly outstanding is Kebbel as the titular RocknRolla. A feral beast exuding a creepy cool, Quid is the force of nature that keeps the whole thing from falling apart under the weight of its own ideas. The Wild Bunch are effective and are responsible for the film‘s standout action moment but you feel that they‘ve been deprived the Ritchie Touch on the page, that they‘re more a device to move things along at pace. Butler‘s chemistry with Newton however, with their hilariously awkward dance–off, is worth the admission price alone.
There are two bugbears though with "RocknRolla". The first being the lazy MacGuffin of the painting. But more criminally, the abrupt ending really jars. It‘s as if Ritchie just wanted to cut to the chase and tie up all the loose ends in one rushed set piece. Such flaws however are more than made up for by the sheer enjoyment factor. Although perhaps not his most accomplished work, that honour still belongs to "Lock, Stock…", by toning down some of his early menace Ritchie has crafted his most fun film to date.