- Released Internationally on 05/09/08
- Released in Malta by KRS on 01/10/08
In a nutshell
Guy Ritchie returns to what he does best – giving us a wild and witty look at the London criminal underworld.
Who’s in it?
Gerald Butler (previously in angry mode as the Phantom of the Opera and the king of Sparta), is One-Two, a small-time criminal who gets an opportunity to cash in on a large estate deal. Tom Wilkinson, one of the most talented and consistent actors around, is Lenny Cole, the leader of most of London’s underworld. Thandie Newton is sultry yet sophisticated as the best accountant in the business, and the one who has everyone’s head turning. However, it’s the relatively-unknown Mark Strong who gives what is probably the most impressive performance, as Cole’s right hand man. His stern looks are a cross between Andy Garcia and Dimitar Berbatov, and not for one second do you doubt that he means business. Plus a host of other new and not-so-new faces playing colourful minor characters.
“Keep the receipts , cos this ain’t the Mafia”
All the elements that made Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch such respected hits are back in force here. The script, penned by Ritchie, is smart, funny and races forward, never letting our interest wane. The editing is also fast-paced, but not annoyingly so, and a number of action sequences are brilliantly done, as Ritchie intersperses the action with later or concurrent scenes, making for great viewing. Standouts include a golf-course summit intertwined with a piano-playing lecture on cigarette packaging, a carjack sequence and a nightclub fracas. The myriad of plot lines and connections between characters all come together again and again, leaving a few casualties on the way.
This is another area where Ritchie excels. He sprinkles his dark underworld with scores of fascinating characters, who thanks to their looks, quirks or actions manage to make an impression even during the briefest of screen-times. There’s two hilarious but scary Russian thugs who sport an impressive array of scars, and who have a rather high pain threshold. They work for a Russian billionaire who’s setting up shop in London, and who both in looks and in sporting interest seems to be a rather unflattering reference to real-life magnate Roman Abramovich. Tank, a hefty criminal who knows everything about the streets of London, has an extensive knowledge of art, and a soft-spot for British period dramas, which he watches in his SUV. And so on and so forth.
The real Rock N Rolla
The title refers to a type of junkie who wants to have everything in life – drugs, sex, glamour and fame. Which is why the film starts and ends with Johnny Quid, a drugged-up, rather pungent rocker who fears no one and also happens to be Lenny Cole’s step son. His whereabouts provide one of the many plotlines of this caper, and he ends the film with the promise of a sequel. Based on what I’ve seen here, I for one will be hoping it gets made.
Guy Ritchie is back. If you like your crime films stylish and snappy, with generous helpings of black humour, then you’ll love this.
http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/rocknrolla/ (High-res QuickTime)