Rocknrolla: Movie Review
Cast: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark
Strong, Idris Elba, Toby Kebbell
Director: Guy Ritchie
The gangster genre is one Guy Ritchie knows well.
After trailblazing the way with Lock Stock and 2 Smoking
Barrels and Snatch, he stumbled a bit with
Revolver (we'll avoid mentioning Swept Away
too much given the painful public split he and Madge seem to be going through)
But it's a real pleasure to say he's bang on form with his latest outing
Rocknrolla- and he brings out some of the best performances
from his cast.
And what a cast - a real mix of characters - Russian gangsters, London
gangsters, drugged up, tripped out popstars, crooked accountants - all of your
regular underworld low-lives inhabit this latest shaggy dog story.
In Rocknrolla, Gerard Butler is Wild Bunch member One Two,
and along with his partner in crime Mumbles (Idris Elba), the pair are desperate
to get the money they owe gangland kingpin Lenny Cole (an outstanding and
extremely volatile Tom Wilkinson)
So they devise a scheme to steal the money from a Russian bigwig - whose
dodgy accountant Stella (Thandie Newton) is only to happy to help.
The problem is those Russian bigwigs are in town to do a deal with Lenny
Things get even more tangled and complicated when the Russian boss gives Cole
a priceless painting as a goodwill gesture - only for that to be stolen by
supposedly dead popstar Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell).
Rocknrolla is a stylistic treat from its opening visuals and
booming soundtrack to its final reel comic effect extra.
That's not to say there's a lack of violence and swearing (as well as
possibly the cinema's shortest ever sex scene) - but the shaggy dog ride
director (and writer) Ritchie spins you along will leave you breathless.
Gerard Butler is good as One Two - his unending fight with a Russian mobster
over a series of locations has to be one of the most wearying ever committed to
But real kudos must go to Tom Wilkinson's Lenny Cole and his right hand man
Archie (Mark Strong).
These two bring a level of menace to London's criminal underworld not seen
for a while - Wilkinson, in particular, destroys any trace of him being the
cuddly old man many will remember from the Full Monty.
Mark Strong simply consolidates his place as the continually rising star of
the big screen.
And there's a hilarious running gag throughout the film which centres on the
painting - and is very much akin to the suitcase in Pulp
If there's to be a criticism of Rocknrolla, it's that some
of the supporting players (such as Johnny Quid's managers Jeremy Piven and
Ludacris' Roman) are sidelined because of the sheer numbers of the cast and
However, that's a trivial complaint in what's a darkly funny, stylistic and
visually arresting film.
Don't worry if you feel out of breath at the end; according to Thandie
Newton, Rocknrolla is the first of a trilogy - which given some
of the loose ends, is great news for the Wild Bunch.