a critiQal film review RocknRolla (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: When old-school gangster Lenny (Wilkinson) and a Russian mobster (Roden) set up a riverfront property scandal in London, small-time crooks One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) - tipped off by the Russian's accountant (Newton) - unknowingly play both sides against each other when they steal the Russian's payment to Lenny.

420 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 6s)
  • ...With his latest, director Guy Ritchie tries to recapture the heavily-accented fun of Snatch - but just can't quite do it.

Before he was known as Madonna’s ex, Guy Ritchie was quite the director. With his unique brand of British ensemble crime films, he helped launched the careers of both Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham (in and again for Statham in Snatch).

Now he returns to the heavily-accented crime ensemble pic with his latest, RocknRolla, this time starring more established actors Gerard Butler, Idris Elba and Thandie Newton. But has Ritchie been gone a bit too long from this type of film to just step back in and pick up where he left off?

Like his previous ensemble gangster pics, Guy Ritchie is able to pull decent performances out of the cast of RocknRolla – but unlike his previous films, nobody really stands out from the crowd. Instead, they all do their part, but nobody with the extra enthusiasm shown by Jones in or Statham and Brad Pitt in Snatch. It seems, this time around, their heavily-accented English is being used as a cover-up to disguise the fact that most of the cast could have done better, but just seemed to choose not to.

At first, RocknRolla, like it’s accents, is a bit hard to follow – again, just like Ritchie’s previous gangster flicks. Thankfully, however, as the seemingly disconnected characters start piecing their way together – and the accents become a bit easier to understand as time passes – the viewer should be able to connect with the film.

Unfortunately, unlike Ritchie’s previous efforts, there’s not as much reason to. Instead of turning out to be a rather involving story, the viewer’s efforts are rewarded instead with a rather lackadaisacal try to reach the pinnacle that was Snatch. Instead, the viewers are presented with the same style of film – complete with quick cuts and a decent soundtrack – but that style is not backed up by as much substance. Sure, it’s fun occassionally, but also easily forgotten.

If you’re in the mood for an ensemble gangster flick that tosses in a bit more humor than your typical Martin Scorcese gangster film, you may want to check out Ritchie’s previous efforts in the genre instead of his latest. Despite it’s flash, RocknRolla turns out to be nothing much more than a director trying to recapture the success of Snatch – and just not quite able to do it.

Let’s hope Ritchie does a better job with Robert Downey Jr. in the leading man role when he takes on the most well-known detective of all time in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for taking a few of us.

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