I saw ROCKNROLLA, and it kicked MIGHTY ARSE. And while it doesn’t have the shock of the new, I reckon this is the best of Guy Ritchie’s good movies. And that bar’s pretty damn high. I saw it in London, where it’s set, although the London of the film is totally Ritchiefied. We’re back in Lock Stock and Snatch territory (thank fuck), where everyone has a name like One-Two or Mumbles, and speaks a deranged mockney argot. Come to think of it, they did that in Revolver too, but here we don’t have to deal with Jason Statham shouting at his own ego in a lift for minutes that felt like days.The Ain't It Cool News editor Moriarity also has this interesting news about Guy Ritchie:
Anyway, from the moment the opening credits not so much kick in as explode onto the screen – up there with Seven, Catch Me If You Can, and The Incredibles, in recent years – it’s clear Ritchie means business. He must know what dogs his last two movies were, he must know he won’t get too many more chances, but despite that, there’s a bravura confidence to this I wasn’t expecting. In the first five minutes we meet about a thousand characters, and if it wasn’t for Mark Strong’s splendidly laconic voiceover you’d be utterly lost. Even with it you’re struggling, but who cares? The camera’s flying around, the performances are mostly spot-on, the music kills.
The plot is basically about upstart oligarch Russians taking over London properties from the old-school likes of Lenny Cole, played by the reliably superb Tom Wilkinson. He’s having an extraordinary run right now, and this is a nice addition to the canon. His consigliere is the cool-as-all-shit Mark Strong, and the pair of them rock together. Lenny is owed a serious amount of money – I couldn’t tell you how much, not having understood the mockney slang – by a bunch of would-be gangsters, led by Gerard Butler’s One-Two, and it’s their attempts to get that money, inadvertently sabotaging Lenny’s deals with the Russian mogul every time, that form the central spine of the movie.
But like I said, there are any number of other spin-off storylines and characters, including various junkies, thieves, gangsters, pop stars, music promoters (the slightly underused Ludacris and Jeremy Piven), and a scheming accountant, played with drawling deadpan sexiness by Thandie Newton. While not even Guy Ritchie’s agent would argue that he can write good parts for women – anyone remember a female character in Lock Stock? Or Snatch? And then there’s Swept Away, which makes you glad there weren’t any women in the others – at least here the single note he gives Newton to play is a good one, and she seems to be having a fine old time.
As do all the others. Gerard Butler finds a nice line in self-mockery; he and Newton have a spectacularly uncool dancing scene together that drew howls of laughter from the audience. He’s kind of a dork, and all the cooler for it. Also in his crew are Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, whose romantic yearnings form the basis for some of the best jokes in the movie.
Warner Bros loveses them some Guy Ritchie right now. ... Well, they’ve seen ROCKNROLLA by now, and we haven’t, and all of a sudden, Warner Bros is in the Guy Ritchie business in a big way. When I interviewed Joel Silver for the SPEED RACER release, he talked to me about how SGT. ROCK was set to finally find its way in front of the camera with Ritchie directing, the latest name in a long line of people who took their shot at that one. And Silver told me point blank that ROCKNROLLA works, that he thinks it’s awesome, and that it is a turning point for Ritchie as a director.Read the rest of the report here, including news that there will definitely be a SEQUEL to RocknRolla!