RocknRolla (2008) Poster


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Yeah, we've seen it all before, but...
jackmoss886 September 2008
I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Guy Ritchie's mockney gangster films. I don't know what it is. I know that they're not very profound and have nothing to say, I know that they're a pure fantasy vision of British crime and I know that if you've seen Lock Stock, you've pretty much seen them all. And yet, as Ritchie returns for a third iteration of the only formula with which he's tasted success , I still find myself walking out of the cinema massively entertained.

RocknRolla does absolutely nothing new. A quick list of things it shares with Lock Stock and Snatch would read thus: fast paced, witty dialogue; complex, interwoven plot threads; central McGuffin driving the mayhem (#1 antique shotguns, #2 huge diamond, #3 a lucky painting); smart, rapid editing; a mountain of Cockney crime stereotypes. Even things such as hard-as-nails Russian henchmen return. It completes the upward curve of scale in Ritchie's crime films: from a rigged card game to a rigged boxing circuit to rigged property development. The crime lords get larger in stature, the sums of money owed have more zeros on the end and the capers required to resolve the situation more grand, but it's still the same concept.

You'd think this was a list of criticisms, and if you found Snatch wearingly familiar you shouldn't need it spelling out that this film won't impress you. Looking for originality? Look elsewhere. RocknRolla may be pushing the formula a little bit, but if you accept that it's still enormous fun. Ritchie's directing is as proficient as ever, it moves at a merry old pace and the plot just about stays on the rails. The characters are endearing and there's plenty of laughs to be had. Other than its dearth of invention, the only real flaw with the film lies in the opening fifteen minutes, where Ritchie sets up the plot strands which will then unravel. Whereas previous films did this in a smooth, unforced way, here Ritchie lathers it with a liberal helping of voice-over narration so there's absolutely no confusion possible as to who is who and what they're after, which on many occasions extends to pointing out the bleeding obvious. Show don't tell- it's the first rule in the book Ritchie! It may be getting to the point where RocknRolla must go down as a guilty pleasure, but guilty pleasures are often the most fulfilling kind. And so it is here.
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A Small Movie That May Make Big Things Happen For the People Involved
alexkolokotronis23 June 2009
RocknRolla seems to be the beginning of the resurrection of Guy Ritchie's career. Not to anyone's surprise he does this with what he has been so potent with throughout his career; a British gangster film. If you've had any experience with Ritchie movies you know exactly what you're getting into here, a comedic thriller. This of course may seem problematic, in Ritchie's case it is not.

The writing and dialog is fast paced and quite witty and entertaining to watch. The movie as a whole maybe be a bit of a head scratcher here and there but the pay off is good and the idea is a bit of a parody of itself which is what makes this film so fun.

What Ritchie accomplishes though, in the same way he has with his past successful productions is putting together an extremely diverse and yet correlating cast. This starts with the lead man in Gerard Butler whose notoriety has steadily risen largely through his performances of comical caricatures (not an insult). With RocknRolla Butler seems to have found a role perfect for his appeal and charm he brings to the screen. This is largely because of a witty script and great, fun performances all around.

Then of course there is Mark Strong who until this year was largely a total unknown, at least in the American mainstream. While Gerard Butler may have found a genre he is most strongly suited for, Mark Strong could certainly use this along with Body of Lies to launch to the very least a respectable acting career. His posture, range and ability to change tone and style subtly not only between films but within them is something that should be and surely will be recognized.
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Guy Ritchie did it again
barrys8214 October 2008
After some failures in his career as a director, Guy Ritchie is back with a fast paced, frenetic movie. A film about a Russian mobster orchestrates a crooked land deal, millions of dollars are up for grabs, and all of London?s criminal underworld wants in on the action. Everyone from a dangerous crime lord to a sexy accountant, a corrupt politician and down-on-their-luck petty thieves conspire, collude and collide with one another in an effort to get rich quick. The story is interesting and the plot is very well developed. Its a film with lots of action and adventure, it has also a very good amount of black humor, characteristic from Ritchie's movies, and full of twists and an unexpected ending.The direction from Ritchie is excellent, the first hour might be a little slow but from the second hour till the end the movie takes a very fast rhythm and the fast forwards and slow motions increases the intensity of the movie. The cast is amazing, Gerard Butler gives a formidable performance, Thandie Newton also very good, Tom Wilkinson flawless as always and the secondary roles from Toby Kebbell (Johnny Quid), Idris Elba (Mumbles) and Mark Strong (Archie) gave the movie a very good support. In conclusion, RocknRolla is a entertaining movie you will enjoy and that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
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Ritchie rolls back into action with a pulse pounding, viciously funny return to form
pyrocitor7 September 2008
In a business as enormously subjective as the film industry, it would seem near impossible to attempt to remain individual and innovative, continually raising the bar, without the occasional stumble. Writer/director Guy Ritchie, who at first garnered countless approval for his vicious, hyper-stylized tales of dirty deeds in the British underground, had found the critical tides turning in recent years after the succession of universally panned Swept Away to widely baffling Revolver, begging the question as to whether Ritchie's cinematic genius had been limited to his initial films. However, fans of the unconventional filmmaker will be enthralled to hear that his latest project, RocknRolla proves a confident return to form, a snappy, stylish piece of work bristling with energy and acerbic wit - in short, classic Ritchie.

Returning to his defining genre, Ritchie crafts yet another convoluted myriad of intersecting story lines focusing on greed, deception, double-crossing and plenty of stupidity in the seedy underbelly of England. With viewers trusted to be familiar with his unique style, Ritchie uses his familiar story template to worm in social commentary amidst his trademark edge and humour, satirising the increasingly developed state of London and the enormous demand for real estate and location. But this is not the ordinary, romanticized London, as Ritchie's cinematic eye appears determined to capture every last dank, filthy gutter, every ounce of crime and corruption in a fashion akin to the least flattering cinematic depictions of New York. And yet, amidst the filth and edgy comedy, the occasional moment of raw humanity, flawed as it may be emerges from the fray of unanimously unsympathetic characters, whether it be the vulnerability of rocker Johnny Quid shuddering and rocking back and forth on a drug trip or the witty interplay between 'The Wild Bunch', a trio of hapless thieves. For a film so cynically detached, RocknRolla sure can hit the emotional gut-punch buttons for brief but unsettlingly crucial moments.

However, in the midst of his caustic reflection on his home town, Ritchie has mercifully left his sense of uproarious fun intact. After a relatively slow start, serving mostly to set up the convoluted array of characters and plot points (the central Maguffin this time being a 'lucky' Russian painting which goes missing) the film takes off at the frenzied pace those familiar with Ritchie's work would expect. Plunging into a fray of hilarious coincidences and situational comedy (watch for a priceless slow dance scene and one of the most hysterical sex scenes in many a year), double crosses, intimidation rants, philosophical monologues and the time worn Ritchie tradition of indestructible Russian hit men, it becomes clear that no matter how many similarities it may bear to past work, the delight of seeing a dynamic talent back on the top of his game cannot be understated. While the hyper-kinetic editing and camera-work and bold music cues of Snatch have been toned down and the casual violence is more removed, the cinematic flavour is unmistakable - Ritchie is back, and just as bombastically entertaining as ever.

As usual, Ritchie's cast rise to the occasion of matching the brilliance of their script and director. Gerard Butler brings an endearing charm to tough talking goofball thug One-Two, inevitably raising laughs whenever on screen and anchoring the film as one of the few likable characters. Tom Wilkinson takes on the role of resident British mobster with considerable aplomb, spitting out his lines with a vindictive joy and proving easily more than adequate on the intimidation front. Thandie Newton evokes an alluring mysterious air as a devious accountant playing each side of the conflict against each other, exuding a subtle quirkiness in her execution of the traditional femme fatale figure. Mark Strong delivers harried menace and perfect comic deadpan as Wilkinson's right hand man, crafting another memorable Ritchie reference with the "Archie slap", and Idris Elba and Tom Hardy are fittingly hilarious as One-Two's bumbling fellow hard men Mumbles and Handsome Bob. Finally, Toby Kebbell eerily essays the most commanding character on screen as allegedly deceased rocker Johnny Quid. A narcissistic, painfully vulnerable, haphazardly philosophical and cheekily insulting pile of flaws and potent observations, Quid is as classic as any of Ritchie's more beloved characters, and Kebbell's off-kilter performance rivets the viewer's attention - whether hilarious or tragic, he is always invariably impossible to ignore and far too interesting to discount.

While the occasional cry of rehashing story elements from past successes may be raised, Ritchie's return to form is too supremely entertaining to dwindle under such complaints, as the formula proves to have just enough shelf life along with countless inspired tweaks to remain miles ahead of any stylistic impersonators. For any finding the cinema's fare too dull or uninspired, fear not - a genuine talent has re-emerged, and RocknRolla proves just the antidote to the hackneyed mainstream offshoots which slunk up in his absence. The prospect of the announced two sequels is mouth watering indeed - if anything should prove indicative of the film's quality, it is that.

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Fantastic film, such a great surprise!
freakinabsuit6 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There is a new gang of Russian mobsters in London planning to create a real estate goldmine lead by Uri(Karl Roden). But they need the help of Lenny(Wilkinson) to get permission so he lends him his "lucky painting" this in turn disappears bringing Stella the accountant(Newton) and the Wild Bunch(Elba,Butler,Hardy) into the Fray. Amongst all this Is Rockstar Johnny Quid and his Agents(Kebbell,Piven,Bridges). Get ready for another multi stranded cockney Ritchie film.

First of all, so you know, I have been long anticipating this film (I mean who wouldn't just for the cast alone?) so didn't go in with low expectations, they were high and this film still managed to surpass them. Lets start with the aforementioned cast... they are all absolutely fantastic but they are aided by beautifully written characters. Gerard Butler(One Two) and Idris Elba(Mumbles) have more chemistry on screen than most Hollywood romcom leading couples. They snap and crack off each other like they've done it for years. In fact the entire "Wild Bunch" as they are known in the film provide some of its best moments, from a visceral heist scene with some unstoppable Russian heavies(which oozes style) to a hilarious running sub-plot about Bob's(Tom hardy) sexual orientation. Matt King also provides a great turn as the Wild Bunch's in house drug dealer Cookie, he also turns in one of the movies best scenes, an eerie narration on heroine addiction. Wilkinson is firing on all cylinders in a role that could have just been his Carmine Falcone with a cockney accent but manages to be much more as well as pretty scary. But it is Mark Strong who comes up trumps in this storyline, his portrayal of Archie the right hand man is probably the most rounded character in the film, full of humour and wit and with an undeniable likability he steals much of the scenes he appears in. And now on to Toby Kebbell as junkie Rockstar Johnny Quid, this is a role that if the academy were a little less narrow-minded they would consider supporting actor nod. He is scum, but his character is such that he is witty and somewhat of a poet/philosopher, fantastically written and Kebbell plays it brilliant. You are never sure what hes going to do next, I guarantee he will take you by surprise.

And now onto the man of the moment, Ritchie. There was a lot of scepticism about this film considering how badly his past two films did critically and commercially. But what is clear from this is that instead of going the safe root and doing a film that will please all he has once again done his own thing the way he wanted to do it and the result is a fantastic piece of film-making.

I really hope RocknRolla makes the money it deserves and gets a wider release in America, it is a film that needs to be seen. Its funny, clever, visually stunning and is a perfect example of a man doing things his own way and not succumbing to the pressures of the media. Well done Ritchie, well done cast, Im up for the Real RocknRolla and when you see it so will you!
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Guy Ritchie, Rock 'N' Roll King
tyranid_slayer6 September 2008
While seeing the dark knight a trailer for a new guy ritchie film came up.

I wasn't particularly swayed too much by this trailer but considering the summer period was almost over and we film lovers now have to survive the cheap horror winter season, Rocknrolla seemed like a nice surprise.

So i saw it last night.

And, to the tell the truth, i absolutely loved it! Obviously apart from guy ritchies excellent direction it had some absolutely fantastic dialouge with some pin sharp conversations and trademark British humour.

The story revolves around several characters, each do something that affects another character within the story. Characters are The Wild Bunch with Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton the accountant, Tom Wilkinson the gangster.

I could say more but there are a lot.

The film to start i found was rather complicated but as time went on i got used to all the characters and they're relationships etc etc.

It's filled with some great top notch sequences but my favourite and the crowds favourite was "The Invincible Russians" Overall this is a great film and breaks the dead lock of cheesy cheap films we get around this time of year.

go see it now!
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Welcome back, Guy.
lglagro25 October 2008
I just saw this film and I obviously loved it. I had been a huge fan of Guy Richie's "Snatch" and "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." Then he married Madonna and made a few bum movies, especially "Revolver." Well rest easy, Guy Richie Fans, the man who made the two great movies I listed above is back and funnier, more intense, and a better writer/director than ever. The first ten or twenty minutes of the movie are a little confusing, but as long as you follow the characters and events (which isn't hard to do since they're fantastic and well acted) you'll understand and enjoy "RocknRolla". I'll also add that the soundtrack is great.
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Incredibly funny and yet very powerful.. Guy Ritchie has done it again!!
gajendrabisht7 September 2008
This is a typical Guy Ritchie film. With a wide range of characters and some very powerful performances to random shots making you wonder where the story is headed but just in time to converge in one final showdown leaving you with just word.. WOW!! I can't help but compare it to they are similar in so many ways...but SNATCH was much more intense, funny and a better script.

Some very fine performances from Gerard Butler from 300, Tom Wilkinson from Michael Clayton but what really surprised me was outstanding performance by Toby Kebbell. His subtle dialogue and crazy laughter really spells horror and magic at the same time. The story takes you through the world of mafia and spins all dramatic sequences with blood, deceit and loads of humor. The scene where Gerard and his gang escape from the two Russian militants... that scene made me laugh like crazy.

I just loved this movie and i can't wait to see the sequel.
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Guy Ritchie at his best
garcialeo1517 September 2009
Guy Ritchie's career has run red hot and ice cold over the yrs. Guy's unique European gangster movies know how to have fun. Really cool violence w/ really cool lines.

Guy Ritchie busted out w/ cult gangster faves Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Then Madonna drained his awesome storytelling w/ Swept Away. Then came weak Revolver. Madonna wrecked one of my fave directors.

I put off seeing RocknRolla and I regret it. Guy Ritchie is back! Every BLEEPING thing I love about his movies came back in a wave. Unforgettable characters, bad a** story, cool lines, and plenty of action to boot. He did get help from two BLEEPING great actors. Mark Strong "Archy" and Toby Kebbell "Johnny Quid"

If you gave up on Guy Ritchie come back. RocknRolla will win you over.
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Another major miss-fire from Guy Ritchie
ajbzerosignal8410 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Early previews has called this a return to form. Hardly. This was for me, a major disappointment.

The moment the film begins, its as if it intentionally tries to confuse us as to what the hell this film's all about. Describing the plot is close to pointless. After all, Guy Ritchie isn't adept in the old art of storytelling, his films ran along the lines of sitcoms - a series of events instead of an actual story. Which wasn't a bad thing in the case of Lock, Stock & Snatch because emotional resonance with the audience was irrelevant. The goal there was to generate laughter. But RocknRolla is only funny in minor - and I DO mean minor - spots. What's more, it also doesn't help as it begins: of how it mentions that Britain is on the up in the property market. Seeing as of now the country is currently enduring credit-crunch problems, inflation rises and a major decrease in property value. You'd be surprised how automatically dated this makes the film.

Its unfair to judge a new film based on the director's previous efforts, but when its Guy Ritchie - who's been running on the same formula for the past 10 years - you can't help but do so. This film was advertised and touted as a return to form ala Lock, Stock and Snatch, but after the first time I watched those two, I loved them. Not looked at them with total scorn. The moments of humour and wit is few and far between, and some lines of dialogue and monologues try to add a little swagger but come off as pretentious and are inches away from falling into self-parody and returning to Revolver territory. And when the best laughs this film can generate involves around a character's homosexuality, you know this film is headed for the pits.

The performances here are strong, but it still doesn't account for the dialogue which just goes nowhere. The entire persona of Tom Wilkinson's cockney villain is almost entirely derived from Bob Hoskins in the Long Good Friday and Tony Kebbell's "Johnny Quid" (the RocknRolla of the film's title) is pretty much a totally pointless character - honestly, did this guy have any purpose in this film other than that he stole the painting? > No. In the end it doesn't help when the film's excuse for a plot is merely a bunch of distractions to hide what is really - a completely mediocre film. Its so convoluted anyway, its virtually nonsense.

Unlike Lock, Stock and Snatch, where all the characters and their situations are established, in this film they're not and it finishes with too many loose ends and plot holes, and contrivances. - What actually happened to Thandie Newton and the Russian with that painting? - Where did the whole Lenny's frame up of the characters come from then? - Will all this be revealed in Ricthie's intended sequel? Who knows? And who cares? Because if that were the case, the best described feeling that this would generate would be that you were cheated.

Guy Ritchie's flashy hyper-kinetic style is what keeps this film from being a total bore, but now's the time where he should stop writing scripts.
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Money, Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll … and a Lucky Painting
claudio_carvalho21 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In London, the British mob boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) rules the growing real estate business using a corrupt Councilor (Jimi Mistry) for the bureaucratic services and his henchman Archy (Mark Strong) for the dirty work. When he lures the small time criminals One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) in a transaction, they lose their property and owe two million pounds to Lenny. Meanwhile the Russian entrepreneur and Russian mob boss Uri Omovich (Karel Roden) meets Lenny for a real estate business and Lenny charges seven-million Euros for the deal; Uri accepts, calls his accountant Stella (Thandie Newton) to laundry and raise the necessary funds and lends his lucky painting to Lenny to bring success and fortune to their business. However Stella double-crosses Uri and hires One Two and Mumbles to steal the amount while the painting is stolen from Lenny's wall by his addicted rocker stepson Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell).

"Rocknrolla" is another great movie of Guy Ritchie in the same style of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". The complex and intelligent screenplay entwines characters and funny situations and the result is an entertaining movie with witty lines and excellent acting. Tom Wilkinson is fantastic in the role of a powerful crime lord. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Rocknrolla"
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If this movie's rockin'…
MorganGrodecki14 October 2008
Throughout his career, director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock Stock and two Smokin' Barrels) has slowly gathered a cult-like following, ensuring that his movies, be they good or bad, will always earn a few dollars from loyal fans. With his 2006 release of Revolver, many of his avid followers found new 'stylistic' directors to drool over, the movie itself receiving mostly negative reviews as a majority of moviegoers claimed it to be 'all style and no substance'. His latest release, RocknRolla, shows Ritchie returning to his roots of gangster oriented, moronic villain centered, hit-man featuring fun. It's a welcome return.

RocknRolla is an ensemble piece, centering on many, many characters while remaining surprisingly capable of not focusing on any one member of the never-ending cast. Gerard Butler (300) plays a good-hearted crook for hire by the name of One-Two, a member in a group of 5 blood-to-bones friends, each of which doubles as a partner in crime. The main focus in the gangster-related circle of characters is Lenny Cole, a ruthless, old fashioned thug brought to life by Oscar-nominated Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton).

The movie truly begins 15 minutes or so after the rather unique opening credits, which in itself foreshadows Ritchie's stylistic thematic which circulates throughout the movie. The eclectically charged plot follows Lenny Cole and his cohorts as they meet and greet Uri, a seemingly reasonable Russian mobster, as the two speak real-estate business. Cole, a self-proclaimed "King of London", runs each and every aspect of London, and agrees to allow the Russians their building – for a small sum of 7 million Euros. Agreeing, Uri offers Lenny his favourite painting as a token of appreciation, a hopeful symbol that all will go well.

From this point on, viewers are treated to a mishmash of confusing twists, an infinite pallet of characters, and some of the most intelligent writing to hit Hollywood in years. The afore-mentioned painting is stolen from Cole, and a search ensues throughout the entire movie, eventually leading to Johnny Quid (Jamie Campbell), the lead singer of The Quidlickers, and step-son to none other than Lenny himself. Quid, also known as "The Rocknrolla", represents a solid contrast to his devilish step-father. Providing monologue after brilliant monologue, Quid becomes a character of classic cool, embodying olden day suave with modern day style, a true to time Rocknrolla.

As with every one of Ritchie's gifts to the silver screen, the subtle yet slick script throws the few negative aspects of the movie to the backburner, leaving only pure gold to shimmer and shine. With a never ending stream of British mannerisms combined with over-seas terminology, North American viewers are faced with a rather tricky dilemma: Sit through a movie that may require a small amount of effort to comprehend due to it's foreign tendencies, or instead rely on Dicaprio and Mr. Crowe to deliver yet another bland, meaningless CIA centered action movie in the form of now premiering Body Of Lies. Unfortunately for the masses that truly enjoy a movie with an intelligent script, box office numbers generally speak poorly for Guy Ritchie's films on our side of the pond, his movies usually making no more than a few hundred thousand dollars, only to become cult hits once released on DVD.

Viewers may be shocked to see Gerard Butler (best known for his overly masculine performance as King Leonidas in 300) hidden amongst an amazing yet unknown cast, with each actor holding their own and providing more than authentic performances. It is a rare yet beautiful sight to behold, a cast full of actors that have not yet been granted the "fame" or spotlight, yet manage to upstage a majority of the actors that we are presented on a day to day basis. It is beyond sad, the least can be said, to see Chris Bridges – A.K.A. Ludicrous (2 Fast 2 Furious) – and Jeremey Pivens (Smokin' Aces) failing miserably in their attempt to act in brief yet important cameo performances, also singled out as the only two American actors in the film, their "talent" shadowed and overcast by the nobodies surrounding them.

To those readers out there who are contemplating seeing this not-quite-so-common piece of theatre in the form of British Cinema, it is best for you to know there are many worse things you can do. Director Guy Ritchie weaves an intricate quilt the likes of which hasn't been since his debut to theatres, managing to create a truly witty film from nothing more than a missing painting. Definitely a must see.

5 out of 5 stars
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Jog On
Ali_John_Catterall12 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In recent years the release of a new Guy Ritchie feature has become a major talking point - for all the wrong reasons. Not so much a launch, more a public flogging. You'd think that after the debacle of Swept Away and Revolver, he'd throw us all a sheepish grin and amble back to the pub. Yet, time and again, he drags his director's chair from the allotment and breezily plonks it down in the middle of the corpse-strewn warzone that is the business of film. At the very least you've got to admire his tenacity. And as he stresses, none of his movies have actually lost money so far.

Tom Wilkinson is Lenny Cole, old-style gangster-cum-property developer, with councillors and half of London's skyline in his sky rocket. A tax-dodging seven million euro deal with a new Russian oligarch on the block, the Abramovich-like Uri, is compromised after Lenny loses the "lucky" painting Uri has loaned him in a display of good will.

The painting, stolen by a couple of Scally junkies, winds up in the hands of Lenny's stepson, crackhead musician Johnny Quid, reported missing at sea, though very much alive and terrorising clubland. Because, clearly, that's what our wimpy, smacked-up, skinny-trousered indie rockers are capable of these days; leaving bouncers for dead.

Also in the mix are a trio of stick-up guys dubbed the 'Wild Bunch'. After finding themselves in hock to Cole, the Bunch hatch a plan with Uri's treacherous femme fatale accountant Stella (Newton) to rip off the Russian, acquiring that painting along the way.

Then things get messy. This is a Ritchie plot after all, akin to one of those children's puzzles where the finger must follow a number of tangled fishing lines to see if Ernie the Eskimo, Wally the Whaler or Pat the Poacher is having mackerel for supper. One thing you can be sure of: following a number of near-misses, each party will bump into one another at the climax and have a massive fishfight.

If this all sounds familiar, it's probably because Ritchie has just re-made Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. Not content with being a magpie's magpie (The Long Good Friday and Pulp Fiction are both reflexively referenced here), he's also started ripping off his own films.

Fair enough. Even the dimmest bulb must eventually come round to the fact that, when all else fails, it's prudent to nudge the least mouldiest bit of old fruit to the top of the apple cart. But a decade after Ritchie surfed that frothing zeitgeist, there's an appalling weariness about RocknRolla, a terrible sense of sadness, surely springing from the lesson that trying to bust out of one's own limited remit doesn't always pay off.

Unfortunately, the director can now barely remember how he got the right things right in the first place. Yet again, a film jumping with fantastic character actors has been utterly capsized by the script. There are actors here the calibre of Idris Elba - Guy (or his people) have been watching 'The Wire'. And Matt 'Super Hans' King - Guy (or his people) has been watching 'Peep Show'. And not least, the extraordinary Toby Kebbell, here apparently channelling Russell Brand.

Against Ritchie's juggernaut of mediocrity they are all powerless to resist. Mark Strong, for instance (in his second Ritchie film after Revolver), has been rewarded for his loyalty with a bigger role as Lenny's enforcer Archie - though simultaneously punished with more dialogue. It is deeply depressing to watch King voice lines like, "This lot are doing more bugle than a brass section" and indeed, every utterance sounds like a photo caption from 'Maxim' magazine: "In there like swimwear"; "Think before you drink before you drive me mad"; and repeatedly (that new favourite phrase of mockneys everywhere): "Jog on."

At one point, Uri actually says to Lenny without irony, "We are very much alike, you and I", while scintillating exchanges such as "Reality is a cruel mistress"; "I must remember that"; "Be my guest" are par for the course.

Elsewhere, there are some schoolboy giggles at the expense of Uri's enormous semi-naked henchmen, as if the Epic Movie team were remaking David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises; although, keen to emphasize his noughties credentials, Ritchie has Elba saying of a gay Wild Buncher, "If I could be half the human Bob is, at the price of being a poof, I'd think about it." Well, it's almost convincing. Yet as an encounter between Butler and the dull, not-especially-fatale Newton demonstrates, Guy's films aren't all that interested in straight sex either.

Those under-and-over-cranked cameras may be less in-your-face this time round, but there's no disguising the director's other tics; convoluted plot lines; daft-names; the same old railway arches and tunnels, 'gritty' backdrops for the same tired old chase scenes; those interminable cracker barrel philosophies, like sallies from a depressed barfly: "There is no spring without a winter. And no life without death." Or, "That which starts sweet ends bitter. And that which starts bitter ends sweet." It's as if Ritchie didn't realise Being There was a satire.

Wading through this stuff is akin to peeping through one's fingers at a retired, punch-drunk boxer climbing into the ring, or a recidivist junkie ripping out their naltrexone implants. It is especially traumatic to witness Stringer Bell from 'The Wire' wearing a motorcycle helmet with comedy teddy bear ears. In the run up to the film's release even Ritchie's US distributor, Warners, decided to scale down the film's marketing operation, saying "It's funny in spots..." but "not broadly commercial."

Someone thinks differently; at the end of RocknRolla comes the awful revelation: 'Archie, Johnny and the Wild Bunch will be back in The Real RocknRolla'; the first of two proposed sequels. As Archie muses, "That's the thing about greed. It's blind. And it doesn't know when to stop."
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One-trick pony retches up another steaming pile of celluloid dung
duncan-16011 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Would somebody PLEASE stop Guy Ritchie from writing scripts like a 15 year old public schoolboy living out some ridiculous nefarious fantasies. I cannot believe that anyone can see this film as anything other than what it is - a stream of Guy Ritchie consciousness packaged up with a load of bad language, embarrassing dialogue, two-dimensional characters you couldn't care less about and utterly utterly stupid plot - at least this time he's not trying to make it look like a Bacardi Breezer commercial - and for that I give it one more star!

As if to justify some kind of scriptwriter credentials he makes almost every single major character (of which there are many) take turns to spout half-baked philosophical claptrap as if it would give this UTTER RUBBISH some kind of value: "See that fag packet over's like life....." WHHAAAT? I cringed through most of this film listening to this nonsense; by the end I was actually feeling sorry for Ritchie for actually believing that he had some kind of talent as a writer. I enjoyed "Lock, Stock..." and "Snatch" but by the end of that film I was saying, 'yes, very clever, but enough now thank you.' After the diabolical "Swept Away" and unwatchable "Revolver" it appears that otherwise perfectly logical people seem desperate to put him back on his pedestal as 'The British Tarentino' (which he isn't, and never will be) - so much so that they are prepared to swallow anything slightly better than those two films - which it is...but only slightly.

To his credit, however, the direction is more assured and less reliant on gimmicks and the one short action scene (when it finally gets going after being irritatingly inter-cut by some (more) talking nonsense) is tremendously enjoyable. The cast is great but the acting is extremely mercurial. And, sorry but what was that gay subplot all about? Is Ritchie trying to engage a new audience or something? When it's conducted with the subtlety of an elephant on a waltzer (was that the Blue Oyster Bar from Police Academy?) I can't imagine too many converts - clumsy, crass, unfunny, pointless, offensive and just plain stupid - just like this film.

As I was watching this film I was thinking, 'If you are going to make me listen to this crud for two hours then at least give me something entertaining to look at'; I actually yearned for the visuals of Ritchie's first two films and this is what made me believe that Ritchie's films are moving backwards - and for a director that's unforgivable. Respect your audience, stop writing and start directing other people's scripts PLEASE!

As Harrison Ford once said to George Lucas on the set of Star Wars, "George, you can write this sh*t but you sure can't say it!".
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Don't hold your breath
clarkeke4 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It says something that most of the press coverage for Guy Ritchie's new film 'Rocknrolla' surrounds the fact that Madonna was late for the London premiere. While the name Madonna is somewhat synonymous with 'show stealer', some might argue that the vast coverage of this minor marital incident masks the fact that Ritchie's film doesn't merit any serious film chit chat.

Don't listen to the cynics, 'Rocknrolla' is actually a decent comeback for Mr Madonna, who has been lingering in the limbo of film failure after no goers like 'Swept Away' and 'Revolver'. The film, set in London's seedy underworld, is strikingly similar to previous successes, 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' and 'Snatch', and features the same sort of thuggish geezer characters but this time with a homo-erotic subtext. While Ritchie's film masquerades as homophobic to the max, there are certain scenes, (the gangsters discover the Russian gangsters in full dominatrix get-up about to perform a certain act on one of their men), where one might not be too sure if the geezer gangsters want to pop a cap in the Russian's asses or strip down and join in.

I think Ritchie was well aware that this film would make or finally break him, and to be honest I don't think it'll do either. He played it safe and did what he's good at, hence the copycat characters (the pool of what he's good at is not a deep one). The only new character is Thandie Newton's Stella, 'the accountant'. If the director intended her to be a strong female character he is worse than I ever imagined for all the slow motion shots of her legs, face and ass surely compromise and completely eradicate any idea of her as the brains behind the operation.

In short, the soundtrack's great, the stylized cinematography is unoriginal but great, and while Ritchie's film has an overly complicated plot and pretty standard Ritchie characters, it is definitely not his third turkey in a row. Starring Thandie Newton, Gerard Butler and Tom Wilkinson, the film is definitely worth a watch but don't hold your breath.
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tuxlie23 February 2009
Terrible, just terrible.

This movie proves without a doubt that Guy Ritchie is a one-trick pony, someone who got lucky with his first movie and is doomed to forever rip it off for anything else he makes.

Guy Ritchie is so far removed from the gangster lifestyle he attempts to portray its laughable. Everything seems so hackneyed and clichéd, the script is as close to Lock Stock and Two Smokings barrels as you could get without actually making the same film.

The dialogue, choice of music editing, everything seems so forced, so desperately trying to be hip its pathetic. A truly terrible film.
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This has nothing on Snatch
pinkliz416 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
RocknRolla is your average British gangster film with not to many thrills. It drags for most of the yawning 1 hour 50 minutes, but does however contain some minor successes. Firstly to state that RocknRolla is definitely Ritchies worst. Not only this but it lacks tone and deep story telling that Ritchie was once good at doing. It disintegrates also on action and comedy, which sadly adds to the further half-handed mediocre of RocknRolla. The characters however, do sometimes interest with their more than average dialogue and quirky sense of humour. Despite saying that the characters do make their fair share of jokes, this doesn't alter the fact that it's not consistency throughout Rocknrolla. The action and stylish violence that Ritchie once demonstrated in Snatch sadly is mislaid by a poor story.

So RocknRolla is by far not Ritchies best and should be kept away from audiences expecting the brilliance, well balanced story and classic action that Ritchie once shown in Snatch. Sadly though RocknRolla puts a downfall decline in Ritchies status and directorial package.
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A bit better than Swept Away... a bit
travis_iii12 September 2008
The consensus seems to be amongst contributors here that RocknRolla is a 'return to form' for Guy Ritchie. I should point out at this point that I don't accept the premise that he had ever struck vein of 'form' in the first place. He did to some extent (and not necessarily to his credit) create a distinctive genre of British film with Smoking Barrels and Snatch and, in the sense that this is almost identical to those earlier films, RocknRolla it is certainly a return to something.

I'm a Londoner; my parents were Cockney and my grand-parents were Cockney (in fact my Auntie Elsie lived only a few streets away from Violet Kray), and as such I have always thought of Ritchie's Mockney gangster genre as the rather sad fantasy of a bored and insecure middle-class public schoolboy sitting in his 'dorm' reading "A Profession of Violence" and wishing that Mad Frankie Fraser was his dad and that Frankie would turn up in the senior common room one day and give a good slapping to all those rotten school bullies.

I've never found any of Ritchie's films funny and I certainly didn't laugh at RocknRolla. It's juvenile, has a silly plot and is too long as well. The characterisation is poor and the dialogue is annoying and dotted with the kind of toe-curling phony philosophising that would probably not even make it into a Kabala recruiting video.

Ritchie is a director of some technical skill but his limited imagination and interest in the human world at large means that he will never make a film outside this Mockney Gangster genre (Swept Away showed us the disaster that ensues when he tries). The fans are there for the Mockneys and I'm sure he'll continue to make more at ever lengthening intervals, probably with decreasing budgets and eventually going straight to DVD. They will all follow exactly the same formula and I won't sit through another.
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Disappointing and Tedious
stardomains3 November 2008
Unfortunately I watched my DVD of Snatch two days before I saw this one. Youch! Snatch is such fun dark humorous crime pulp fiction. There is no movie I have ever seen that has so many characters that are as fun to watch as in Snatch. I was looking forward to RocknRolla. So sad. Yikes! I barely liked any character. The action and dialog seem geared more to audience members of the half-wit gang-impersonator ilk that are rampant in today's global culture. Just kind of stupid glorification of violence and macho-posturing. I don't know how Guy descended into this kind of low cinema. I like his previous crime movies because they are thoughtful, novel, intelligent, and had colorful characters played by good actors who ate their roles up in style. And ultimately, even if some were truly bad guys, they played them with such panache you relished their performance(ex. Brick Top). With this movie it was almost the opposite: I found myself disliking almost everyone in it. Most everyone was bland and the ones that stood out were not the ones I would want to stand out and watch(the punk rocker kid, barf.) I hate to review it so badly because Snatch continues to bring such enjoyment into my life so I am fond of Guy Ritchie. But I actually came out of the theater disdainful at this one.
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Don't worry. He can't defend himself - he's got no head.
Spikeopath10 June 2010
When a land deal goes wrong for One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) they have to steal seven large to pay back underworld fixer Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson). Aided by accountant Stella (Thandie Newton) they make the hit and think that's the end of the matter. Only it isn't because now the can is open and there is worms every where. Worms involving a shady Russian business man, his favourite painting and a junkie rock star who keeps on dying!.

It's interesting viewing RocknRolla now just after Guy Ritchie's reinvention of Sherlock Holmes has put him back on the flavour of the month list. For at the time of its release Ritchie was on the back of a couple of critical bombs and was of course then known as Mr Madonna. The press and the film critics seemingly revelling in giving the bright director a good old cockney kicking after putting him on a pedestal with the success of the Lock, Stock and Snatch movies. Don't get me wrong, Swept Away is awful and Revolver, while not being the cess pool of vomit some would have you believe, is just too much labyrinthine plotting around a poor narrative story. But had Ritchie lost his mojo in 2008? Is it true that he got lucky with his cockernee gangster forays?.

Well what we know to be true is that Ritchie is comfortable back on the shady London manor that is at the heart of RocknRolla. Cynics will say he has played safe and returned to the formula that made him. Yeah, so what? A return to form is a return to form is it not? Besides which, if one is prepared to delve deep and examine RocknRolla, you will find that it's more polished than both Lock, Stock and Snatch; with a far better cast of actors able to fully realise the zippy structure and material of the piece. No! Ritchie is no great story teller yet, and judging by the plot of Sherlock Holmes, he's unable to spot a duff story either. Yet the vigour, vibrancy, and all round geezerness of RocknRolla is bountiful as a ream of charismatic characters all have stories within the story. Ritchie returning to gangland territory with guns, gags and sexual energy is a good thing. It really is.

The cast are uniformly strong. The roll call contains Mark Strong, Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton, Jeremy Piven, Jimmy Mistry, Idris Alba, Chris Bridges and Gemma Arteton. All of whom seem to enjoy being in "that type" of Guy Ritchie movie. But it's Toby Kebbell as junkie rock star Johnny Quid that shines the brightest. He's no stranger to fans of harder edged British cinema, his brilliant turn in Dead Man's Shoes often gets forgotten because of Paddy Considine's much lauded turn in that film. While Wilderness, and then Control, further pushed him forward as a major British talent. Here he covers many bases in character while the material lets him slyly dig at the music industry and link it feral like to the underworld. A terrific turn from a terrific young actor.

With a kicking soundtrack that includes the likes of The Clash, The Hives, The Subways, Lou Reed and The Sonics, it's not just the crime caper plot that positively pings. There's some links to Pulp Fiction, a painting we never see echoes the running suitcase gag, while a wonderful dance sequence between Butler and Newton of course nods to Uma & John. But it's fine, this is Ritchie's world and its fun, sexy and cunningly dangerous. 8/10
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Rocknrollin its way to one of the best films of the year
MrPink0827 October 2008
Everybody loved Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Everyone hated Swept Away and Revolver. The question was, how was Guy Ritchie's latest film, Rocknrolla, going to do? From what I've seen, everyone better love this movie! This film has it all: gunfights, gangsters, British slang, Gerard Butler, memorable lines, and even some poorly behaved American crayfish. Somehow, Ritchie finds enough film time to fit cameos by Jeremy Piven and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges in there.

Butler returns to the kind of the role that made him a household name in 300. Butler stars as Mr One-Two, a criminal who isn't afraid to speak out his mind, or let his fists do the talking. It's good to see Butler return to the badass role after starring in soft films such as PS I Love You and Nim's Island. Tom Wilkinson, fresh off an Oscar run in Michael Clayton, stars as Lenny Cole, a tough, old school British mobster who is prone to some senior moments. Ritchie's trademark of having the stories intertwine comes into play, something that made Snatch and Lock Stock work so well. Lenny, who has cheated One-Two out of a land deal in London, is working with some Russians, led by the businessman Yuri (Karel Roden), on a land deal. However, One-Two steals Yuri's money meant for Lenny. This sets up a chain of events which lead to dead bodies and more.

While Snatch focused on a stolen diamond and Lock Stock focused on stolen guns, Rocknrolla chooses to focus on a stolen painting. You see, it's Yuri's lucky painting, and he's let Lenny borrow it. Turns out, the painting has been stolen by Lenny's wild stepson Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), a crazy, stoned rocker. While some fans will complain about how Ritchie films always seem to be about something stolen, I just feel if it ain't broke don't fix it! Aside from Butler and Wilkinson, fans will love performances by the all star cast including a sexy accountant (Thandie Newton), One-Two's partners (Idris Elba and Tom Hardy), and two American club owners (Bridges and Piven). However, Kebbell and Mark Strong absolutely steal the show. As the stoned rocker, Kebbell makes us feel compassion for the Johnny Quid character, and we eventually root for him against his mean ol stepdad. Strong, fresh off a classic role as a good natured hit-man in Ritchie's Revolver, portrays Archie, Lenny's loyal right hand mate. Archie is a no nonsense criminal who also serves as the voice of reason in Lenny's crazy world. Archie is without a doubt one of Ritchie's finest characters.

American filmgoers will probably complain that the film is too "British". As an American, I honestly say, "Who cares?" Ritchie's use of British slang is fun, hip and gives this action film a sense of humor. If this is too much for American filmgoers, then they will be glad that this film somewhat reminds them of a film directed by the great American director Quentin Tarantino. A dance scene between Butler and Newton seems directly pulled from Pulp Fiction, a scene where Johnny tortures a man to the tune of The Subways' Rock n Roll Queen seems like a sly Reservoir Dogs reference, and the unseen painting will have fans guessing, much like the briefcase from Pulp Fiction. In addition, the opening credits sequence is on of the best you will ever see. The sequence almost has a graphic novel feel to it, something we Americans love (examples: 300, Sin City, 30 Days of Night).

Overall, Ritchie gives us a deep, crazy, and fun film. When it's over, you think how this film could possibly be made better. As if right on cue, the question is answered. A sequel, The Real Rocknrolla, is announced on screen. A perfect 10, I can hardly wait for The Real Rocknrolla.
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Oh Dear
psheehanuk10 September 2008
I'm surprised this film has such high ratings on IMDb. Weak disjointed story which went off at a tangent and was not remotely clever (unlike Snatch and Lock Stock); poor dialogue that was neither witty nor funny; dull characters - none of whom were interesting or convincing; exposition galore (mostly via an annoying voice over); bad acting by some of the cast, not very funny (apart from a couple of chuckles). It's a poor man's Snatch and Lock Stock (which are excellent). A lot of it made very little sense. Jeremy Piven was wasted. Terrible ending which made little or no sense, that implied the real 'hopefully' better version of the film was yet to come. Was this the rubbish version that I paid for. It looks as if it was written by Madonna.
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djm_trading15 April 2017
One of the few films that. I have ever given up on. My wife and I got 40 minutes in, and decided it wasn't interesting, funny, clever or charming. The only skill we could discern, was that of making so many talented actors act so incredibly poorly. The script sounded like it was written by a clever teenager; naive and heavy handed without any of the subtlety that experience would bring.
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An Improvement from Guy Ritchie
freemantle_uk5 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
After making Swepted Away and Revolver Guy Ritchie's career hit the rocks and his reputation ruined. Luckily for him he returned to what he was best at and took a back to basic approach.

The film is a gangster story set in London. It tells of One-Two (Gerald Butler), who has a small crew, Mumbles (Idris Elba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy). One-Two at the beginning of the film and ends up entering into a dodgy property deal where he owns money to Lenny (Tom Wilkingson), a major London gangster. Lenny basically tricks One-Two so that he could get the property and bribe the London council to let him build up the property and take all the profits. Lenny seeks to make a major deal with a Russian billionaire who owns a football club (I wonder who he is meant to be based on). The billionaire seeks to make a new concert hall very quickly, and wants to use Lenny's contacts to make sure that planning permission is granted. Lenny wants 7 Million Euros so he can do it. The billionaire has a dodgy accountant Stella (Thandie Newton), who asks One-Two to rob the Euros and takes a nice slice of the profits. At the same time the Russian also loans Lenny his lucky painting as a symbol of truth and as a thank you. Unforuately this painting is stolen by Lenny's rock star step-son Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell). As the film goes on all these story lines become interlinked.

Ritchie goes back to the types of films that made his name, which shows that he is really a one trick pony. This film felt a little be like a best of Ritchie. I felt that some of the sub-plot felt a bit tacked on, especially the part involving Johnny Quid and at times characters completely disappeared. The problem with Guy Ritchie is he thinks he is smarter then he really is and wants to be clever with his script. But at least for Ritchie he is in safe territory. Another problem is Ritchie is a mockney, a wannabe cockney, the kind of person most people look down on. However, there are positives. Most of the story does work, and some of the comedy is good. Fans of the original two Guy Ritchie film will love it for that. There is also a very good cast in the film. Tom Wilkington was the best as Lenny, the leading gangster, but most of the other actors gave very good performances. Butler and Newton are a very good actors. There were also fine set-pieces, especially the second raid against the Russians, and has a good comical fight in a sports shop. But at time it did feel like Ritchie took a style over substances approach. There is also an excellent soundtrack to the film, which is never a bad thing. If you are a rock fan you would enjoy it.

I personally feel that Ritchie could have cut some times from the plot and it would have made a better film. But there are good performances, and some fun bits and if you are a Guy Ritchie film would will enjoy this flick. A decent attempt.
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Slick title - the expectancy ends there.
jason-prentis12 September 2008
If you were expecting something new, vibrant and original in Guy Ritchie's latest offering, then you're in for a major let down. The same old elements are present: small-time gangster wannabes, guns, violence and not forgetting the pointless swearing and much needed anger-management. Rocknrolla is a film that doesn't keep you guessing, in fact, it makes you think about having spent your entrance fee on another film. What is needed is an injection of new material, instead of an injection to numb the pain. The only thing missing to complete this film's total lack of originality is his wife, Madonna. Speaks volumes to say the very least.
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