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10/31 - Review: Ritchie’s the hit man with ‘RocknRolla’

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from: http://www.bostonherald.com

Ritchie’s the hit man with ‘RocknRolla’

By James Verniere | Friday, October 31, 2008 |

“ROCKNROLLA”: A- I may be prejudiced. But it seems to me the talent gene pool in the Ritchie family is a lot deeper on Guy’s side.

“RocknRolla,” the latest film from the man soon to be the ex-Mr. Madonna, is a terrifically entertaining, if mostly merely stylish exercise in laddish, London-gangster-movie tropes. If “The Long Good Friday” (1980) were an Abbott and Costello movie, it would have looked and sounded a lot like this.

Meet Mr. One-Two (Gerard Butler) and his partners Mr. Mumbles (Idris Elba of “The Wire”) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy). Bob’s about to go to the slammer for a “five stretch,” and on the eve of the event confesses to Mr. One-Two that he is in love with him. What’s a big, dumb, good-looking, supposedly straight tough guy gonna do when a best buddy is in need?

You’ll have to find out. Ritchie makes a travesty of plot by throwing in everything except the kitchen sink and then throwing in the sink. It involves the barbaric, suspiciously Putin-esque Russian mobster Uri (Karel Roden), who is looking to cash in on London’s real-estate boom, whose loaned-out “lucky painting” gets lifted; a crack-addicted rock star Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell of “Control” in a star-making turn), rumored to have fallen off a yacht and drowned; and a couple of Chechen hit men who are hell’s own equivalent of the Energizer bunny.

Also in the mix are the “dirty Cossack’s” beautiful accountant (Thandie Newton, yippee, letting hair down), who recruits One-Two, Mumbles and Bob to rob the Russian, and brutish London mobster Lenny (a hilariously simian Tom Wilkinson), who dips low-lifes into a Thames teeming with ravenous crayfish in an effort to find who has the painting.

The painting, which we only see from behind, is the film’s MacGuffin, and if “RocknRolla” sounds like a riff on such masters as Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino, that’s what it is.

But nobody riffs like Mr. R (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Snatch,” “Revolver”). He may be making the same movie over and over again with varying results, but when it works it puts a pint-addled smile on your face and a spring in your step. That is to say: Who needs meaning when what you’re looking at is a dazzling demonstration of the art of filmmaking?

Ritchie, who also wrote the gangster-patter-sodden script, also has a Fellini/Tarantino-esque eye for a striking face and idealized male and female forms. His cutting technique combines a whooshing sound and a sudden shift to the right or center. Unlike the moronic “Wanted,” “RocknRolla” can afford to be outrageously violent in a cool sort of way.

The soundtrack, featuring such titles as “Have Love Will Travel” “The Gun” and “Bankrobber,” is as propulsive and concussive as you might expect from a man married to Madonna for the past seven years. Sorry about the divorce, Guy.

But “RocknRolla” is a gas.

(“RocknRolla” contains profanity, violence and sexual situations.)

Rated R. At AMC Loews Boston Common, Regal Fenway Stadium and suburban theaters.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/...ticleid=1128867

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I'm going to have to read the review in the paper when I get home, thanks for the heads up Barb!

I'm wondering what the Globe (the other paper here) said.

sidenote: I love that first line too..I'm team Ritchie so I really REALLY loved that line and agree.

Edited by moonglow

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