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10/31 - Review - Premiere Magazine

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from: http://www.premiere.com/moviereviews/4809/rocknrolla.html


Release Date: October 31, 2008

PREMIERE'S REVIEW (posted 10/30/08)

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Guy Ritchie's last good movie was also his last heist movie, 2000's Snatch. 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels shot Ritchie to stardom for its testosterone-driven action, smartly written dialogue, camera tricks, and plot twists. After several large missteps (Swept Away, Revolver), Ritchie's back to form with RockNRolla — which, if you like his aforementioned crime actioners, is good news.

With a bigger budget and producers Joel Silver and Susan Downey behind the scenes, RockNRolla is a 21st century version of Guy Ritchie's earlier films. The banter is wittier; the criminals are slicker, sexier, and more devious; and the soundtrack is more rock 'n' roll than ever. Tom Wilkinson plays Lenny Cole, the go-to guy for every sleazy criminal — white collar or blue — in London. Street gangsters One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) and their crew get tangled up in a mess with Lenny, a Russian real estate mobster, a very sexy accountant (Thandie Newton), a missing painting, and a junkie rock star named Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell). That's all you really need to know.

Though the plot has a few too many holes in it, the sheer fun of RockNRolla makes it easy to overlook such quibbles. Butler will make you forget all about Sparta, whether he's mooning Mumbles or cutting a rug with Newton. Mark Strong is great as Lenny's loyal right-hand man, and naturally the award-winning Wilkinson is as talented at playing a ruthless gangster with a comb-over as he is playing a lawyer having a melt down. However, it's Toby Kebbell — whose crackhead musician is based, according to interviews, on singer Pete Doherty — that really makes RockNRolla crackle. From the beginning shot of his emaciated, swaying back as he lights a bong with a gun-shaped lighter to him playing the piano in a dank dive bar, Kebbell's Johnny Quid keeps you guessing. Kebbell's resume is comprised of indies like Control, but Johnny Quid could be his breakout role. By the time the credits rolled (promising a sequel — Ritchie told Premiere he's already written the script), I was feeling like a bit of a rock and roller myself.

— Jenni Miller

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I had to go look up Pete Doherty's bio after reading this review and found that he supposedly lives in a large estate rented from Lord Cardigan in Wiltshire, which I believe is also the area where our own Anna lives. So Anna, is Pete ever seen out and about? If so does he seem to have gotten his life back on track?

I'm happy to be seeing so many positive reviews, even if the acting isn't really the focus of most. It's still good buzz and I hope people see it (and see the film).

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