Guy Ritchie Rocks Again
Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: November 4, 2008 | Publication: The Weekender | Author: Ignatious Schiavo
As a guy, I can remember the chick flick and all the messy necessities of said cinematic experience whilst growing up. “Define,” you say? Well, by all means. The male of the species between the ages of 16 and 24 is only capable of sitting through an emotionally draining, female-driven film if there is the very real possibility of “getting some.” (If I have to define “getting some,” it’s safe to say you are not.) I smiled gleefully through “Pretty Woman” but unfortunately fell soundly asleep during “Ghost.” Point is, my lovelies, Guy Ritchie does not do chick flicks, and as the director of this week’s pick, he is a true “RockNRolla.”
Ritchie weaves his adrenalized, ADHD magic once more in this latest caper piece. It is great to know that some 10 years after “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch,” he’s still got it.
This time out, the whirlwind of a plot centers on a land deal, the Russian mob, a London “real estate” broker and “The Wild Bunch.” I know, sounds straightforward. London hoods One Two (Gerard Butler), Mumbles (Idris Elba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy) get by like any good toughs, doing a job here, snatching a little something there and enjoying the ride. London crime syndicate heavyweight Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) does not snatch “little” anything here, there or anywhere. He facilitates land deals that lead to big money for his partners and himself. You with me so far? Good.
Russian mobster Uri (Karel Roden) is desirous of building a sports stadium in London and reaping the bushels of cash involved with owing a tract of land such as that. So, Uri has his accounting whiz Stella (Thandie Newton) “free up” some cash for the necessary payments. Problem is that Stella is in a marriage of convenience to a gay lawyer, and she fills her needs with a love of “bad boys.” For our purposes, “bad boys” will be One Two, Mumbles and Handsome. So they come up with a scheme.
Rounding out the menagerie of miscreants is junkie rock star Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell). Bright lad, crazy as a loon, and oh yeah, he’s also the stepson to London heavy Lenny Cole. Not an adored stepson, mind you. Johnny has decided that dead rock stars are worth more and concocts his own scheme that coincides with step-dad’s scheme, which is in direct conflict with Stella’s scheme, which undermines the Russian’s scheme, and puts those lovely “Wild Bunch” lads square in the midst of one royal clusterf--k.
The beauty is in how Ritchie delivers the goods. Quick British wit, excellent casting, unique camera work and a quick-paced yet pleasantly flowing story all add up to a topnotch film experience. It doesn’t quite surpass the majesty that is “Snatch,” but c’mon, Francis Ford Coppola did direct after “The Godfather.” “RockNRolla” is a highly intelligent, infectiously fun way to spend an afternoon at the cinema; case closed.
For those that love the dude flick, you’ve got gold here. As for the aforementioned “chick flickers,” they have been on about “Rachel Getting Married.” I caught a Saturday night showing of this painfully tiring film. I don’t know who heaped praise on this one, but it was akin to watching someone’s wedding video with intermittent moments of familial dysfunction (and my gal agreed). Guess now that I’m older and wiser, I don’t need “pro” help to know what I like. Because just as Guy Ritchie’s thugs put it, “a RockNRolla, oh, he’s different. Why? Because a real RockNRolla wants the whole lot.” That’s all I want in a film myself, the whole lot. Just throw in a large popcorn to boot, thanks.
Rating: W W W 1/2