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'RocknRolla': Stylish entertainment

Category: RocknRolla Reviews
Article Date: November 6, 2008 | Publication: The Southtown Star | Author: Michael Drakulich
Source: http://www.southtownstar.com/entertainment/firstlook/drakulich/1259147,110608MikesRock.article

Posted by: stagewomanjen


Ritchie's latest is a pleasant surprise.

It seems as though Guy Ritchie has been worried more about being Mr. Madonna during the last few years than he has been about putting out good movies.

After "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch," I thought he was on the cusp of being a filmmaker that was worth noticing.

Then he got married, put out a few real duds and kind of disappeared.

It's nice to see he's back.

"RocknRolla" is a pretty good piece of stylish entertainment populated by left-of-center characters that leave audiences asking themselves, "Did I get that right?"

But it's that kind of uncertainty that isn't unsettling. It's kind of fun to recount the plot and try to figure out what you've missed.

To say this is a labyrinthine plot would be an understatement. But, then again, that's part of its charm.

Russian mobsters are going to pull a blockbuster of a real-estate scam.

They turn to Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson), an old-school crime boss who is trying to move up in league with shadowy underworld figures and uses this deal as his meal ticket.

The Russians want to build some sort of major sports complex, and Lenny knows how to grease the skids and get the right approvals needed.

Lenny's stepson is Johnny Quid, a punk rock star who faked his own death to boost album sales (a la rapper 2Pac).

When Quid gets low on funds, he steals a lucky painting that the Russians entrusted to Lenny as part of the deal.

At the same time, One Two (Gerard Butler) and his associates manage to intercept bribe money meant for Lenny after they are tipped off by someone on the inside who has eyes on One Two.

It may not make sense, and that's part of the point.

Ritchie's films can seem a bit convoluted, populated by far too many characters that are more stereotypical than anything.

So it's not hard to see why sometimes his films seem a bit off-putting to some audiences.

Sure, it's a matter of style - and perhaps taste, too. But Ritchie is pretty crafty.

As long as most audiences don't get too bogged down in the specifics, they might find themselves rather captivated.

None of it makes much sense. Even at the end some will find themselves trying to piece everything together and finding such an endeavor rather futile.

But, like a lot of director Quentin Tarantino's work, if you allow yourself to be "Swept Away" (one of Ritchie's regrettable projects) and take it in on a more emotional plane, you might find yourself rather pleasantly surprised.

3 stars

 


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