THE NEW MICHAEL RITCHIE
FILM; SAME AS THE OLD MICHAEL RITCHIE FILM
published November 7,
now playing nationwide
With Keira Knightley and The Duchess having
already knocked out the annual British costume drama quota for this fall, it is time for Guy Ritchie to show up with RocknRolla and fill the British gangster picture slot. Now the world of British filmmaking can feel
A sweet-natured criminal in debt for a cool
A crooked businessman who runs
A druggie rock star who, by all accounts,
is dead. Or should be.
A vamp accountant with a taste for
A Russian billionaire with a fondness for
A reflective henchman.
Two hopeless record producers.
A lucky painting.
A stash of hot cash.
And a bad London land deal going badder
Drop them into a blender and see what kind
of story comes out.
These are the things that RocknRolla has
going for it. And also the things that go against it.
Being overwhelmed with so much stuff, it’s
just the law of averages. Some storylines and characters in Guy Ritchie’s hip, twisty new release are more exhilarating than others. And some
are duller than others.
When it’s creative … like a car robbery
thwarted by a stick shift …. a fresh, funny sex scene …. a fight to the death won by distance running …. It’s oh so good. When it’s not, it
drifts so much, and there’s nothing that Ritchie’s endless style and visual flair can do to enliven it.
The film features roughly every semi-famous
British actor Ritchie could get his hands on (Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Toby Kebbell). Very strong is the maliciously great
Tom Wilkinson as Lenny Cole, a wheelchair-bound wheeler dealer greasing his own palm. Among the virtues of this film, one should not overlook
the reminder that Wilkinson is actually English.
The words that have long attended Ritchie’s
films still apply. Hip. Stylish. Flashy. Empty. Nothing really changes, does it?
kevinbowen @ stageandcinema.com