Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: October 29, 2008 | Publication: abc.net.au | Author: David Stratton and Margaret
One Two, (GERARD BUTLER), is a small-time London gangster hoping to make the big time. He obtains a loan from Mr. Big, alias Lenny Cole, (TOM WILKINSON), a crime boss with corrupt local politicians well and truly in his pocket.
Meanwhile Stella, (THANDIE NEWTON), who works as an accountant for the Russian mafia, betrays her employers and reveals the location of an awful lot of money.
To start off with, ROCKNROLLA promises a return to the kind of larky gangster comedy with which Guy Ritchie made his reputation.
But all too soon the new film, despite a very impressive cast, bogs down in pointless scenes of double-crossing. Part of the problem is that the plot is just too cluttered. There are far too many characters and sub-plots jostling for attention.
Among those who could have been better developed are Johnny Quid, (TONY KEBBELL), a wasted punk rocker with interesting family ties, JEREMY PIVEN and
CHRIS BRIDGES as rock promoters who get involved in a hunt for a stolen painting, much valued by the head of the Russian gang, played by KAREL RODEN, and Stella herself.
Much is made of the stolen painting, but in the end, like the film itself, the sub-plot doesnít deliver.
The actingís good enough, especially the very busy Mark Strong who after playing a Jordanian secret service boss in BODY OF LIES and an untrustworthy mercenary in BABYLON AD crops up here as Tom Wilkinsonís fiercely loyal second-in-command.
Scenes of violence are downplayed in ROCKNROLLA, which may disappoint Ritchie fans. The trouble is that nothing all that interesting replaces them.
MARGARET: Look, I actually had a little bit of fun with this, and I was never a fan of...
DAVID: LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING...
MARGARET: LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING...
DAVID: Oh, I was. I really liked that.
MARGARET: I know. Everybody else did but I sort of thought, oh, well, hereís more of the same. But I mean Ritchie is returning to very familiar territory here and you see...
DAVID: Yeah. Well, heís had some failures. So, I mean, I guess heís - SWEPT AWAY was just so...
MARGARET: Oh, no, weíre not allowed to mention that film. But, you know, you sort of think come on, reinvent yourself a bit.
MARGARET: But I mean itís obviously the east end of London is an area he knows well and he likes playing with the jargon and the characters.
And I must say that, you know, I get bored with the set up, then once itís set up I actually think, oh, this is quite a fun ride.
I love the fact that one of the bad guys, you know, is gay and is in love with One Two.
DAVID: Yeah. But, I mean, didnít you think there was just too much going on? I mean, I just found it too much.
MARGARET: Well, I thought it all came together in the end and I must agree with you that I think Mark Strong is actually strong.
DAVID: Yeah. Heís really quite a presence, isnít he?