Sunday, November 2, 2008

RocknRolla


RocknRolla is a full-on Guy Richie film with his unique space and time branded editing style to the British underbelly of society the characters inhabit, with crime situations bringing all these different blokes together. The characters have useful names to tell them apart like Mumbles, One Two (Gerald Butler of 300 fame), Councillor, and even the eponymous title character a.k.a. Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbel). For good measure we have a billionaire Russian named Uri, his partner who could be his nemesis Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson sporting a shaved head), Uri and Lenny's various thugs including a scene stealing Mark Strong as Archie (Strong also stole scenes in Body of Lies.), and devious femme accountant Thandie Newton as Stella (Newton has only to look stunning and behave badly, moments which she knocks out of the arena.) A couple of periphery players like Jeremy Piven and Chris Bridges (He lost the Ludacris moniker, and shows some thesp chops by quietly acting, something that's missing from his other film roles.) pop up as club promoters just to make sure the momentum never wavers.
Uri has made a deal with Lenny to push through the immediate construction of a stadium through the usual bribes with politicians. Lenny has used the same connections to insure that One Two and his buddies default on a loan so they owe Lenny two very large. Meanwhile Uri's accountant surreptitiously passes on information that results in his men, who're carrying Lenny's bribe money, being robbed. Quid is Lenny's black sheep son, a rock star in his own right who's just faked his own death. A lucky painting that we only see from the back (one of the film's many visual teases) plays into the story as it's loaned, stolen, sold, and given back and forth between members of the cast.
A rocknrolla is a bloke who wants it all, sex and money and fame and at first we wonder who the real rocker could be. Goodness knows Richie uses his fair share of cool song cues. If there's a sequel, and the last shot tempts us to believe that, it would have to wait until Richie finishes the Sherlock Holmes movie he's currently shooting with Robert Downey, Jr as the titular detective. Not oddly the actor playing Archie, Mark Strong, strongly resembles Basil Rathbone and it appears his scene stealing will carry on in the Holmes film too as he plays what one can only hope is the villain.


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