Ritchie returns to film roots with 'RocknRolla'

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: September 6, 2008 | Publication: Timmins Daily Press | Author: ERIN CULLIN
Publication/Article Link:Timmins Daily Press

Whoever planned the Special Presentation screening of Guy Ritchie's "RocknRolla" at the Elgin Theatre on Thursday night is, no doubt, going to be incurring the wrath of the Metro Toronto Police Service in the near future.

For those of you who don't know, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre is in the heart of downtown Toronto. It is on Yonge Street, between Queen and Dundas, directly across from the Eaton Centre. Usually the street is cordoned off during Festival screenings -- but not on Thursday night.

The sidewalk opposite the theatre was filled with throngs of fans, trying to get a glimpse of Gerard Butler, Jeremy Piven and Guy Ritchie as they entered the screening. As the stars began to arrive, the lack of barricades or a police presence resulted in absolute pandemonium. People dashed into the middle of traffic on Yonge Street to catch a glimpse of them. It was quite a sight.

Fortunately, we were in the photographer's gallery, and managed to catch a few good photos of the action and the crew without having to feel taxi exhaust burning up our backs.

"RocknRolla" is Guy Ritchie's attempt to "return to basics" after two disastrous films -- "Swept Away," starring his wife, Madonna (Did he not see "Desperately Seeking Susan?"), and "Revolver," starring Jason Statham. Ritchie has not had a hit since "Snatch" in 2000, and if this film flops, the only person who is going to be willing to finance his films after this will be his wife (and even she has too good of a head for business to take that risk).

Fortunately for Guy Ritchie, going back to his humble beginnings has paid off. "RocknRolla" is a great film, reminiscent of, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." Although others have tried, Ritchie is the master of the quick-paced, pithy action film. I am pleased to report that the master is back.

As is typical of a Guy Ritchie film, there is more going on in this film then there is space here to discuss it. In a nutshell, the movie stars Tom Wilkinson as Lenny, a big shot in the London criminal underground who makes a deal with a Russian billionaire named Uri (Karel Roden) involving $7 million and the Russian's favourite painting.

The deal begins to unravel when Lenny's junkie/rock star son Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell) steals the painting and the $7 million is stolen (twice) by a group called "The Wild Bunch" (Gerard Butler, Idris Elba and Tom Hardy). It is a wild ride.

The Special Presentation at the Elgin brought with it some of the colorful language that only Guy Ritchie can bring to a film screening. At one point during their presentation before the film, Ritchie and Thandie Newton, one of his supporting cast members, asked those of us in the audience to remain in our seats following the screening as they would be coming around to "shag" us afterward. Not convinced that my husband would approve, I left immediately after the film was over (although I was told by others that he failed to keep his promise).