All hail the return of return of Guy Ritchie. Granted, RocknRolla isn’t as fanastic as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or even Snatch, but this is a stylish, trhilling ride that isn’t plagued with the affected gravitas that doomed his latest projects.
RocknRolla features a stellar cast. Gerard Butler co-stars as One Two, a small time gangster who’s mixed up with some very, very bad people. Thandie Newton plays Stella, the accountant to some of these bad people. She’s cool as shit, and sexy as hell, always sucking on something phallic, whether it be a cigarette, asparagus, or her own hollandaise covered finger. Mark Strong and Tom Wilkinson play the leaders of the ‘old school,’ as they wheel and deal with small time crooks, and members of the ‘new school’ (led by Uri, played terrifically by Karel Roden), trying to make a living, screwing people over left and right. Toby Kebbell plays rock and roll star Johnny Quid, the son of Wilkinson’s character. Thanks to poor fathering, Johnny is set on screwing up his father’s business, which is the setting off point for the race-to-the-finish climax.
Ritchie is brilliant when he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Okay, brilliant is much too strong for the guy who made Swept Away (he really must have been Madonna’s bitch, I believe the domestic violence charges he alleged against her), but he is impressive when he’s on his game. He finally recognized (maybe his current marital instability is a godsend) his place: a confident director of con movies, and no more. And for what he lacks in character development, or plot lines, he makes up for by the fact that RocknRolla is just damn cool. Additionally, there was actually some pretty witty dialogue to go along with the action, good for you Ritchie (he also wrote the original screenplay). Profanity and violence run amuck in the film that runs just under two hours, and it’s funny as all get out. Is this a great film? No. But it’s pure, unadulterated entertainment, that will impress everyone on your next guys’ night out.