'RockNRolla' is confusing but not all bad

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: February 6, 2009 | Publication: Great Falls Tribune | Author: Patrick Douglas
Publication/Article Link:http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20090206/ENTERTAINMENT02/902060317

f anything, Guy Ritchie has made a name for himself by coming up with stories that will make you dizzy from all of the twists. Forget the fact that he's gotten a lot of attention in recent years for being married and split from Madonna, the guy's a tremendous storyteller.

If Quentin Tarantino is the golden boy of quirky American pulp cinema, Ritchie is certainly the king in the UK.

Some of Ritchie's more notable efforts include the underrated "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and the Brad Pitt-led "Snatch."

Other than being spawned from Ritchie's imagination, both of those flicks share a common theme of gangsters, thugs and above all, getting the big score.

His latest release, "RockNRolla," is more of the same, which is a good thing. The problem is, when you compare it to the other two, it lacks the action and personality to bring out the same excitement.

The story is there, almost ad nauseum. Digging deep into a vernacular that has to be watched in subtitles to appreciate, the movie features important plot points that come as often as the change in camera angles. You'd better not blink or allow distractions or you'll be lost.

"RockNRolla" is about deception and revenge and how far those with power will go to keep themselves out of hot water. In "RockNRolla," everyone has to come up with a lie here and there.

Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) is the most powerful man in town, at least in his own mind. Behind the muscle of his sidekick Archy, Lenny makes sure that his interests are in order and if they aren't, he's not above torture.

There's always a small group of guys in Ritchie films that you are supposed to root for, and "RockNRolla" has a trio that consists of One Two (Gerard Butler), Handsome Bob and Mumbles. They're as close to average dudes as you're gonna find in this film.

Uri Obamavich is a Russian who is working a deal with Lenny when we first meet him. Lenny agrees on a payday of $7 million to keep the heat off of Uri's business interests, and in a gesture of good faith, Uri lends Lenny his lucky painting.

It's innocent enough, until the painting is stolen from Lenny's office. It turns out Lenny's estranged rock star son Johnny Quid has taken the picture and is in hiding with it after faking his own death.

With thugs looking for the painting and thugs wanting to steal loads of cash from other thugs, you are guaranteed a ride that involves numerous characters all switching sides from bad to good. The payoff in the end isn't all that rewarding, but it's interesting enough.

Confusion is almost a given, but you shouldn't feel too bad if you get lost for a moment.

The good news is, this is supposedly the first part of a trilogy, so there'll be plenty of opportunities to add to the confusing and/or detailed storytelling in later chapters.