GUY'S BACK IN THE GROOVE

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: August 31, 2008 | Publication: Sunday Mirror | Author: MARK ADAMS
Publication/Article Link:Sunday Mirror

THE STARS: Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Jeremy Piven.

THE STORY: When a millionaire Russian businessman plans a crooked land deal, millions of pounds are up for grabs, and all of London's crooked elements want a part.

Key players include old-guard mobster Lenny Cole (Wilkinson), sexy and devious accountant Stella (Newton) and small-time crook One Two (Butler), who sees a chance to break into the big time. THE VERDICT: Guy Ritchie heads back to the streets of London for RocknRolla, a freewheeling crime drama that ducks and dives its way through the criminal underworld.

In both spirit and structure it feels rather like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but it is also nicely punctuated by some terrific performances.

Gerard Butler gets to flex his pecs as charming street-smart mobster One Two, who's also having a "thing" with sexy accountant Stella (Thandie Newton, slim and sultry as ever).

She's working for the Russian millionaire, who in turn is planning a land deal with gangster Lenny (splendid Tom Wilkinson).

But Ritchie can't hold back on the double-dealing sub-plots, meaning RocknRolla is overpopulated with jack-the-lad chancers when things may have been far better if it were a slimmer and meaner affair.

And he still has a major failing when it comes to the writing - women here are purely sex objects and the homosexual-panic jokes are plain unamusing.

But there is still a lot of fun to be had - the film is stylish, smart and laced with lovely moments of wry humour.

Plus there's a great turn by Mark Strong as Lenny's tough-but-fair enforcer.

FINAL CUT

A DELICIOUSLY offbeat, cool crime tale.***

Opens Friday, Sept 5