One classy affair - movie reviews
Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: September 7, 2008 | Publication: Sunday Herald | Author: Editor
Director: Guy Ritchie
...Guy Ritchie ought to watch and weep. RocknRolla is Ritchie's fourth gangster movie. Perhaps his attempt at new territory, the desert island turkey Swept Away, scared him back into the comfort zone of Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. But unless you're, say, Martin Scorsese, familiarity just breeds contempt.
Expect the usual: a massive cast of villains (Tom Wilkinson, Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton among them), whose seemingly disparate scams messily coalesce; endless voice-over explication and a barrage of underworld lingo with next to no wit; and lots and lots of violence. It takes an age to get going, wilting under the weight of self-delusion, as Ritchie imagines he is making a British Ocean's Eleven.
The pity is that he is not without skill or sharp observation: a misguided robbery of two Russian hard nuts is exciting, funny and imaginatively shot, while a drug dealer's account of his own addicted days is satisfyingly strange. The trouble with Ritchie is less to do with talent than inclination and self‑satisfaction. There's a sandwich you can buy in New York called The Elvis, with so much peanut butter, honey and banana that your mouth glues itself shut. When I think of the smugness of RocknRolla, I think of an Elvis.
...If it's mayhem you want, RocknRolla shades it.