Rocknrolla Guy Ritchie

Rocknrolla Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie's latest gangster comedy about East End London hoods delivers another round of harsh violence, dark laughs and crackling energy. However, the same can't be said of his audio commentary with one of his stars, Mark Strong. The commentary is too laidback and evasive. Ritchie offers few anecdotes about shooting on location, casting his performers or writing his script. These are subjects that directors typically discuss but here Ritchie says little. That's surprising coming from a director whose characters love to gab. In RocknRolla, these Cockneys gab about a painting that shady Russian land developer Uri (Karel Roden) offers to kingpin Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) as a good luck charm. The two uneasy partners are closing a huge land deal at the height of London's recent real estate boom. Problem is, someone steals the painting from Lenny, which threatens to sink the deal. Thrown into the mix is a small-time crook named One Two (Gerard Butler), Lenny's smart, sexy lover Stella (Thandie Newton) and Johnny (Toby Kebbell), Lenny's estranged rock star stepson. Ritchie's films are wild goose chases by gangsters, and the chaos the chase creates feeds the action and laughs. RocknRolla works because it feels more relaxed and takes itself less seriously than his other films. It doesn't hurt that Thandie Newton delivers a strong performance that nearly eclipses Tom Wilkinson's. As for the other bonus features, a single deleted scene is offered, but it's chatty and quite forgettable. The real meat lays in the eight-minute featurette "Guy's Town," in which Ritchie and his collaborators open up to explore London's recent real estate boom, which inspired this story and makes RocknRolla timely. Apparently, Russian "immigrants" flocked to London and aggressively drove up land prices so high that Ritchie declares, "London is becoming a New York." Oh, yes, the second disc. There's no new material here, just the key to download an iPod-sized version of the movie. Considering the quality of the bonus features of this special edition, the bare-bones single-disc version will do just fine. (Warner)