Published Sep 11, 2008Guy Ritchies two best known films, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, revolve around Londons criminal underbelly, featuring large casts of characters and intricate plotting that weave the seemingly unrelated characters together.
Ritchies Rocknrolla follows in that tradition, though it trades in the bumbling low-life villains for more worldly criminals, losing some of the charm of his earlier films in favour of a more straightforward noir caper. But, regardless of Rocknrollas more competent class of bad guys, there are a number of funny moments that help alleviate the tension of the criminal enterprise and create an entertaining film that will please fans of Ritchies style.
The story revolves around Londons real-estate market and the shady dealings that grease the political wheels and allow new buildings to be constructed. Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) is a sleazy businessman and one of the major players in Londons real-estate world, with the power to make or break any new construction project he wants.
Victor (Dragan Micanovic) is a Russian developer and international criminal who needs Lennys contacts to push through the zoning on a new building project. But, when Lenny screws over One-Two (Gerard Butler), Mumbles (Idris Elba), Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy) and Cookie (Matt King), an up-and-coming gang known as the Wild Bunch, he sets in motion a series of events that result in more than a little violence and villainy. When Lenny's drug addict rock star step-son Johnny Quid (Tony Kebbell) gets involved in the situation by stealing a painting belonging to Victor, things quickly become a lot more complicated and dangerous for all involved.
While there are no weak links in Rocknrollas cast, Tony Kebbell (Control) stands out as the titular "rocknrolla, portraying a sociopathic junkie with a disturbing intensity that anchors the picture. It is unfortunate that Kebbells character plays only a small part in the overall plot but, thankfully, Ritchie hints at the possibility of revisiting the surviving characters of Rocknrolla in a sequel. Hopefully Ritchie will follow through, as Johnny Quid and the blokes in the Wild Bunch are some of the most interesting characters he has ever created.
Even without the out-and-out humour of Ritchies previous films, Rocknrolla is nearly as enjoyable. The slightly more serious tone may turn away some people expecting the clumsy antics of Ritchies previous neer do-wells but fans will no doubt think this film is the dogs bollocks. (Warner)