'Rocknrolla' gets thumbs up
Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: November 13, 2008 | Publication: The Voyager | Author: Katherine Corsair
Director and writer Guy Ritchie delivers solid film.
Director and writer Guy Ritchie has reached past the failures of "Revolver" and "Swept Away" and created a thrilling British mob movie complete with guns, art, drugs, Russians, gays and a guarantee for a sequel.
"Rocknrolla" is a film with a plot as old as the mob itself, but Ritchie tells it in the new breath of cinematic art.
Ritchie uses film and speed at varying lengths to make his movie a piece of art. With 15 or so characters revolving around a stolen painting and a junkie rock-n-roll star, Ritchie works each set of players into the film with short, staccato scenes, and then transitions to lengthy, almost drawn-out interludes.
The film includes a ten-minute chase scene and also the shortest, most to-the-point sex scene of all time (and since it is between Thandie Newton and Gerard Butler, you feel slightly cheated).
It is a movie of short stops and long rides. Dramamine might be necessary for those of you with weak bellies.
The "rocknrolla" of the movie is played by Toby Kebbel, a virtual un-known, and, as the title suggests, the movie more or less centers around this rocker/junkie/Ivy-league educated young man named Jimmy Quid.
His estranged father, Lenny Cole (played by Tom Wilkinson), is a big-time British gangster who is doing real estate business with resilient, nasty, temperamental Russians. Lenny Cole is the puppeteer of the London underground and all the other players end up bending to his tyranny and charm.
Mark Strong plays Archie, Wilkinson's No. 2 man. Gerard Butler (One Two), Tom Hardy (Handsome Bob) and Idris Elba (Mumbles) make up a crime team (The Wild Bunch) of the most likable sort.
The always-elegant Newton plays Stella, the cold hard bitch accountant who is really pulling the strings of the London crime mob. Stella is one of the essential connecting forces in the film. Her marriage to a gay (but in the closet) lawyer and her creative money-trafficking methods keep the plot rolling and twisting in unexpected ways.
Ludacris even makes an appearance in what movie critics are saying is Ritchie's comeback film. Ludacris and Jeremy Piven play two music producers who unwillingly get caught up in Ritchie's complex web of gangster violence.
Ritchie, for a while, seemed to have left behind the genius of his earlier work of "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," but with "Rocknrolla," fans and moviegoers will experience the familiar yet thrilling and funny film that was expected from director and writer Guy Ritchie.
Before the credits rolled at the end of the movie, Ritchie promised fans that the Wild Bunch and rocknrolla Johnny Quid will appear in the sequel "The Real Rock-n-Rolla." That, however, was the end of it and no other news can be found on what will be an anticipated film.
For now, Ritchie is working on a new and improved version of "Sherlock Holmes," which is scheduled to be released Nov. 20, 2009. This movie will include some of Ritchie's favorites in the cast, including Mark Strong as the incredibly violent and evil Lord Blackwood. Jude Law, Rachael McAdams and Robert Downey Jr. will also be starring in the film.