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Movie Review: RocknRolla

Category: RocknRolla Reviews
Article Date: November 5, 2008 | Publication: Planet Blacksburg | Author: Justin Velasquez

Posted by: stagewomanjen

Crime and corruption are never played better than in a Guy Ritchie film. The writer and director of such films as 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and 2000's Snatch presents to us another film about criminals and lowlifes trying to outsmart each other in order to make some fast money. Similarly, RocknRolla involves many characters, surprising humor, complex scheming and tough English accents.

A lot of the story centers around One Two (Gerard Butler, 300) a small-time crook who operates with his crew, the Wild Bunch. One Two, his partner, Mumbles (Idris Elba, HBO's The Wire) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy) are seeking "legitimate" work and try to get into real estate. Their best route at going legitimate is through Lenny Cole (Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson), a powerful London gangster and part of the reigning old school.

Lenny has his hand in anything where money's involved, so instead of greasing the wheels for One Two, Lenny manages to con him out of the real estate and the money that they put up. Instead of getting one step closer to a greater payday they now owe Lenny some two million Euros. At the same time, a Russian gangster named Uri Omovich (Karel Roden, The Bourne Supremacy) wants some precious London real estate. He, too, seeks Lenny's help and agrees to pay him seven million Euros so that Lenny can use his connections to push everything through.

Uri's sexy accountant, Stella (Thandie Newton, Crash & ER), sees this business transaction as an opportunity to fleece both Uri and Lenny for the money. With her underworld connections she hires One Two and his crew to steal the money during transfer. She gets a piece of the pie, of course, and the Wild Bunch can pay Lenny what they owe him - with his money, no less. With all this money changing hands, everyone is trying to get in on the action. Lenny is desperately clinging to the power he still has while staving off the eventual rise of the Russian mob. Lenny is even looking over his shoulder as his right-hand man, Archy (Mark Strong, Body of Lies), comes up through the ranks. But the true wild card is Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell, Control & Alexander), a well-educated, rock star junkie who's believed to be dead. By the way, Johnny is Lenny's stepson.

Guy Ritchie's underworld of crime and illegal activity is, simply put, a fun ride with so many twists and turns that it's impossible to not get whiplash. Like Snatch and Lock, Stock, RocknRolla's players are crazy, interesting and uncannily dishonest. If you pay a little attention, though, you'll be able to figure out what's going on without losing your head. The only complaint with RocknRolla is that anyone familiar with Guy Ritchie's previous work can easily deduce this as Snatch 2 or a careful retread. But Ritchie does a good job of keeping things fresh with this "new" version of his crime caper. If anything, check out Tom Wilkinson for his performance. He's solid in every role he plays and his sinister Lenny Cole is dangerous and funny all at the same time.

So if you want to see some funny goings-on when it comes to London's criminal underworld, simply go out and see RocknRolla.

Three stars out of Four


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