Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkinson
Storyline: A bunch of crooks steal from each other till they all get what they deserve
Bottomline: Guy returns to his tried and tested formula
How does Guy Ritchie make films?
He gets an ensemble of gangsters and druggies.
Makes some of them stupid, some of them dangerous, some of them drip cool and all of them dishonest.
Has them cheat or steal something off each other until it all blows up into one big climax with all guns blazing.
Sticks to film noir but keeps the mood fun, lights it up in style, edits it slick, puts in a funky cool score and spares the good guys.
After two disappointing Madonna-inspired turkeys at the box office ‘Swept Away’ and ‘Revolver’ (that probably got jammed trying to pack in Kabbalah with crime), the maverick filmmaker’s back to his form and formula from the ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ and ‘Snatch’ days.
And since he has realised that this is what he does best, with RocknRolla (certainly his third best), the Guy’s decided to turn it into an official franchise so that at least the fans know what to expect and turn up at the cinemas.
Right from the very first frame, RocknRolla oozes style and attitude, the British accent only making it sound all the more cool. The camera whizzes from frame to frame and introduces us to a motley crew of characters who are inexplicably linked to each other. Here, the world of real estate business forms the backdrop for the series of unfortunate events to unfold.
You just can’t tell where cinematography ends and editing begins and Guy keeps the narrative seamless for the first half of the film, and has you guessing even within the predictable structure.
You know things will ultimately come a full circle and that the pieces will all fall into place, you know the twists are all around the corner but Guy plays his cards at his own pace, reasonably in control of all the characters he’s unleashed and their destinies.
With over two dozen characters fighting for screen time, with their own arcs and agendas, it is no mean feat to keep the humour alive. Watch that bit where Guy breaks linearity to tell us all about one hell of a chase – a getaway sequence featuring Gerard Butler on the run, being chased by near immortal Russians.
Gerard Butler is the Brit Clooney, a picture of cool even in the most stressed out situations, Tom Wilkinson completely wicked and Thandie Newton still very, very hot. Mark Strong really stands out among the rest of the bunch and ends up as the strongest of the lot.
In any case, the actors are just incidental. This is a signature Guy Ritchie film. And that makes it a safe bet not just for him but also for those of us who have missed the substance from one of the most stylish filmmakers of our times.
RocknRolla is a potent combination of style and substance. Get stoned, this slick flick is a trip.