Friday, October 31, 2008


There is no honor among thieves.

The latest from writer/director Guy Ritchie is a bit of a convoluted tale of real-estate scams in London. Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) runs an under the table service of getting property rights quickly passed through red tape for an exorbitant fee. Anyone needing business done quickly has no other option than to go through Cole.

After bilking two tough guys (Gerard Bulter, Idris Elba) out of their dream, and getting them to owe him money, Cole moves onto business with a Russian (Karel Roden). Here’s where things get complicated.

In need of some fast cash One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) take a job from an associate (Thandie Newton) to rob a large supply of money coming into London. Unknown to the pair the money is the payoff the Russian is bringing to Cole, and its theft jeopardizes the business deal.

Events are further complicated by Cole’s son-in-law (Toby Kebbell), a minor rock star and junkie, who faked his own death and stole a painting from Cole’s home - a gift from the Russian who wants it back.

The script relies too much on coincidence. The inter-connectedness of the plot could easily have been tweaked to be a bit more believable, but instead the series of events piles higher and higher like a house of cards, and eventually collapses. The film also culminates in a large revelation, which although it works, doesn’t really have the impact Ritchie hoped for.

Still, there’s quite a bit that works here including some fine performances, one of the best sex scenes in recent memory, the humorous fall-out from an admission of one of One Two’s gang, and the return of the seedy gruff style which Ritchie pulls off so well.

RocknRolla is the type of movie which will play well to Ritchie’s fans but probably won’t win him over many new ones. It’s an okay film about gangsters, thieves, and murder, but it doesn’t add much new to the genre. If you’re a fan of his work, or you like your action rough and sleazy, it might, might, be worth a couple hours of your time.

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