Sunday, October 26, 2008


It looks like Guy Ritchie is not only back on the market, what with his impending divorce from Madonna, but back to form with his latest directorial effort, RockNRolla.

In the style of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, RockNRolla is an ode to guns, gangsters and rock 'n roll. Filled with all sorts of sketchy characters with names like "One Two," "Mumbles," "Cookie," "Fred the Head," and "Johnny Quid," the film takes us to a world of dirty dealing, double-crossing and the knock-down, drag out.

Although Gerard Butler gets top billing as rough and tumble tough guy "One Two," but Tom Wilkinson--who can do no wrong in my opinion--nearly walks away with the whole movie playing mob boss Lenny Cole.

The story is narrated by the character of Archie (Mark Strong--most recently seen as Nick in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), Lenny's right hand man, who starts us off by telling us:

"People ask the question... what's a RocknRolla? And I tell 'em - it's not about drugs, drums, and hospital drips, oh no. There's more there than that, my friend. We all like a bit of the good life - some the money, some the drugs, other the sex game, the glamour, or the fame. But a RocknRolla, oh, he's different. Why? Because a real RocknRolla wants the fucking lot. "
The eponymous RockNRolla of this tale is one Johnny Quid, Lenny's erstwhile stepson and drug addict rocker who fakes his own death to increase his album sales. Played with mesmerizing charisma by Toby Kebbell--who was outstanding as "Rob Gretton" in Control--Johnny Quid is one part Johnny Rotten and one part Jonathan Rhys Meyers. In a movie filled with tough guys, he's the baddest ass of them all.

The film also features performances by a cool customer named Stella (but of course!) played to icy perfection by Thandie Newton as well as cameos by Jeremy Piven and Chris Bridges (aka Ludacris) who play Johnny Quid's American managers. Despite their standout performances in Entourage and Crash, the pair barely register in this colorful cast of characters. I'm not sure why Ritchie felt the need to import a pair of Americans into this story. Although the theme of immigration plays a part in the narrative, Piven and Bridges seem wholly out of place.

If you liked Ritchie's other offerings, RocknNRolla is more of the same. Complicated, witty and highly stylized, but all -in-all a raucous romp in the seamy underworld.

I loved it.

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