Upscale thugs give us a rollicking good time

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: October 7, 2008 | Publication: The Province | Author: Glen Schaefer
Publication/Article Link:The Province

A film festival isn't all subtitles and long, significant glances between Macedonian wool merchants, you know.

Brit director and Madonna boy-toy Guy Ritchie makes a return to his tried-and-true milieu: the action comedy crowded with gangsters who talk a lot smarter than they are.

Amid this crowd is Gerard Butler, Ritchie's designated punching bag as small-time hood One-Two. As Ritchie broadens his gaze from the petty crimes that fuelled Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, street-level rounders One-Two and his pool-hall mates cross paths with some other thugs who have gone upscale -- London developer and fixer Lenny (Tom Wilkinson) and Russian venture capitalist Yuri (Karel Roden). Other detours take the crew into the demi-monde of junkie rock stars and their enablers.

Butler bashes up photogenically and Ritchie's dialogue still has that kinetic bite, for a rollicking good time all round. I'm reminded of a T-shirt I saw this summer up at Whistler that read: "It's funny until someone gets hurt, then it's hilarious."

Me, I'm a sicker for Three Stooges-style pratfalls, and much of this movie plays like a bloodier Stooge-fest fought out between male fashion models.

Amid all these full-blooded guys, Thandie Newton as a thrill-seeking accountant comes off as oddly austere. Ritchie's camera has always had a keener eye for the guys.