'RocknRolla' a strong return for Ritchie

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: November 17, 2008 | Publication: The Wicked Local Rochester | Author: Joe Sicari
Publication/Article Link:http://www.wickedlocal.com/rochester/news/lifestyle/columnists/x1196576173/RocknRolla-a-strong-return-for-Ritchie

Just how good is director/writer Ritchieís new film RocknRolla? Itís the best thing heís done since Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Thatís right, itís been that long.

Before anyone says Snatch, forget it, because that film was just a big budget remake of Two Smoking Barrels.

RocknRolla, on the other hand, has the wild plotting of Barrels without the stylish filmmaking tricks. The story Ritchie has come up with is not only fun but pretty easy to follow as well.

London gangsters are a busy lot. Lenny Cole (Wilkinson) is a crime boss who controls the politicians, small time crooks, and plenty of London real estate. Heís been doing his thing for a long time, and heís the guy Obamavich (Roden), a Russian mobster/billionaire, goes to get a huge stadium built. Money is the key here, and everything has to be done pretty quickly.

There are also some small-time crooks led by One Two (Butler) and his crew, who owe the crime boss money for a plot of land he sold them.

One Two thought he had everything covered. He didnít. Well, he did, but the crime boss is smarter.

Finally, bringing all these plotlines together is a punk-rock singer who is thought to be dead.

There is also Stella, a sexy female accountant, played coolly by Newton, who may be smarter then all of them.

How all these plotlines and characters interact, well, thatís the fun of Ritchieís screenplay.

There are times when the film seems like itís spinning out of control, only to have director Ritchie pull it back from the edge, slowing the pacing for a scene or two then ramping it up again. All the while, the audience follows along as the twists and turns continue almost to the end.
As in most Ritchie films, there is violence, but not as much as one would think.

One of the filmís highlights is when One Two and his crew are chased through the streets by two Russian thugs. Itís funny and suspenseful. The sequence strongly shows what Ritchie is capable of when heís on his game.

Ritchieís cast is clearly enjoying themselves, with Butler and Newtonís scenes carrying plenty of sexual tension. Butler has an easygoing way with his role and gets to show a strong comic flair at times. Wilkinson dances through the role with a skill and style that is tough to do but second nature to him.

RocknRolla is a strong return for Ritchie. With a cast that never falters, the writer/director has created a sharp, funny gangster film that will be welcome by audiences everywhere.