RocknRolla – Review

Worth seeing: as a low-rent Guy-Ritchie-by-numbers with an overly complex plot and characters lacking the charm of those in his earlier work
Director:Guy Ritchie
Featuring:Gerard Butler, Jimi Mistry, Karel Roden, Mark Strong, Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkinson, Gemma Arterton, Idris Elba, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jeremy Piven, Tom Hardy
Length:114 minutes
Certificate:15
Country:UK
Released:5th September 2008

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

London underworld boss Lenny (Tom Wilkinson) is trying to rise up a level by doing a business deal with murky Russian billionaire businessman and football-club owner (sound familiar?!) Uri (Karel Roden).

As a sweetener, Uri allows Lenny to hang his favourite painting in his office for the duration of their partnership.

But every time Uri withdraws the millions of pounds he needs to go through with the deal, his delivery men get knocked off by small-time gangsters, working behind the scenes with his sexy accountant Stella (Thandie Newton).

As if things are bad enough for Lenny, he’s having trouble getting his local councillor (Jimi Mistry) to clear the way for his planning permission – while his strongman enforcer (Mark Strong) starts having doubts about his own loyalties.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

If you’ve never seen a Guy Ritchie film, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

It would seem like a mildly amusing, cheeky underworld comic-thriller, with a bunch of inter-related gangs and shady businessmen double-crossing each other until the cows come home…and get fed to the piranhas.

The problem is, anyone who HAS seen a Guy Ritchie film before will have seen Lock Stock and Snatch – two films which are funnier, cleverer, wittier, more coherent and most importantly refreshingly original.

What’s more, the “good guys” here are far less likeable than their predecessors in the previous films and the “bad guys” have nothing like the menace Ritchie has shown us in the past.

Pretty well every single gangster in London seems to get woven into an overly complicated plot that will leave your head spinning. There are just too many characters doing too few things of substance.

Making it more complicated doesn’t make it more interesting.

Why on earth take an old, tried and tested formula – and do it worse? And to make it feel even more like it belongs in the past, the opening voiceover goes on about how property prices will keep going up for ever – not any more, mate.