Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Sep 2 2008Wrong-footed by the new credit-crunch zeitgeist, but with recovered fluency after the hiccups of ‘Revolver’ and ‘Swept Away’, director Guy Ritchie’s latest returns to the caper comedy antics of unreconstructed London criminals familiar from his earlier ‘Lock, Stock…’ and ‘Snatch’.
The old smoke is changing: Tom Wilkinson’s ‘headmaster of the old-school’ villain seems a little tired, no match for the chutzpah of Gerard Butler’s drole ‘One Two’, one of the pair of the smaller-timers he employs to obtain a painting belonging to Karl Roden’s bent football-loving Russian billionaire, with whom the old gangster is co-operating on a real-estate scam. Matters are further complicated – that’s an understatement – by a plethora of criss-crossing strands involving lethally glamorous lawyer Thandie Newton, ghostly coke-head Toby Kebbell and trans-Atlantic music co-producers Ludacris and Jeremy Piven.
Despite its putatively ‘strong’ women characters, ‘RocknRolla’ is still basically ‘geezer cinema’, concocted to Ritchie’s habitual formula: gangster-land parody packed out with well-mounted action sequences, slick visuals (here courtesy of David Higgs), flashcard editing, eclectic scoring and some funny, sometimes Pinter-esque, hardman patter. Forgetting its ‘Long Good Friday’ pretensions and allowing for its air of laddish self-congratulation and its sad whiff of homophobia – admittedly, quite a big ask – Ritchie’s film is arguably his most entertaining to date. With its cheeky wit, non-PC provocations, cock-eyed class-consciousness and cheerful irreverence it could be the closest thing to Ealing comedy we’re offered these days.
Author: Wally Hammond
Fri Sep 5 2008