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Category: RocknRolla Reviews
Article Date: August 31, 2008 | Publication: | Author: Bacon

Posted by: stagewomanjen

The other day, dear readers, I met a friend for a cup of tea (bear with me, it gets better).

He said: "The other day I met someone who was ... a bit Bacon-esque."

I don't know who that man is, but I'd love to meet as you sound like an amazing guy.

That story came to mind when I watched Rocknrolla.

Nothing sums it up as well as "Guy-Ritchie-esque."

Like most of Guy's films, it's about gangsters with odd names, a blag that goes wrong, dynamic camera angles, and a load of sub-plots that confuse everything.

It's a phrase that means something which looks just like Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, but isn't half as good. Rocknrolla is definitely Guy-Ritchie-esque.

The problem is he seems to keep making the same films over and over, with the only difference being each new addition is more difficult to follow than the last. Lock Stock had a straightforward plot (lads lose at cards to villains, owe money, have to find it before they get bumped off) - result, it was a massive hit.

Revolver had a similar plot (man beats villain at cards, villain wants him dead), but terrible sub-plots and bad script made it utterly confusing - result, it bombed.

Guy Ritchie's films always look great, but his scripts are starting to drag him down.

This is not the disaster Revolver was (how could you do that badly twice?). Gerard Butler (the lead in last year's 300) is bored professional crim One Two (latest addition to the Guy-Ritchie-esque Odd Character Names, joining Bricktop, Barry the Baptist, Bullet Tooth Tony and Frankie Four Fingers).

He's come between two groups of gangsters - the old school underworld (who he owes money to) ruled by boss Lenny Cole (the great Tom Wilkinson), and the new influx of ruthless Eastern European gangsters.

While the two groups are suspicious of one another, they do a deal - but several million euros paid by the Russians are intercepted by One Two and his mate Mumbles (Idris Elba - from excellent US drama The Wire). Cue problems.

It's complex but that's not all: add a Pete Doherty-esque rockstar (the Rocknrolla of the title) called Johnny Quid (an excellent Toby Kebbell), Than die Newton as an accountant for the Russians trapped in a loveless marriage, two colourful American club owners (Jeremy Piven and rapper Ludacris), a missing painting owned by the Russian boss Uri (Karel Roden)... and a film critic begging for some aspirin and a lie-down.

The performances are game, but this script, like much of his work, totters on the edge of incoherence.

All in all, a slightly overcooked return to form after two terrible outings (I still see a psychiatrist for my Swept Away trauma).

I thought I'd use some of Guy's beloved Cockney rhyming slang to sum up.

Rocknrolla ain't pirates (Pirates of Penzance - pants), or Dot (Dot Cotton - rotten) - but it's not that Christmas (Christmas pud - good) either.

So it's up to you if you fancy spending your rifle (rifle range - change) on it.

ROCK 'N' ROLLA - Summary:
Like most of Guy's films, it's about gangsters with odd names, a blag that goes wrong, dynamic camera angles, and a load of sub-plots that confuse everything.

Rating: 3 out of 5: Tasty - worth a bite.


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