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Review: RocknRolla

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from: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.d...VIEWS/810299991

RocknRolla

Round and round the money goes

Release Date: 2008

Ebert Rating: ***

Oct 29, 2008

by Roger Ebert

I'm looking at "RocknRolla" and I'm thinking, why make a movie about stealing a parcel of London real estate, when you could make a movie about stealing a trillion bucks of real estate? British gangsters may dress better than Wall Street overlords and be more colorful, but they just don't think big. After watching Richard S. Fuld, CEO of Lehman Brothers, squirm before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGREFORM) as he explained why he deserved $350 million for guiding his company into bankruptcy, I found it refreshing to watch hoodlums squirm because they might get personally kneecapped without even so much as a golden hang-glider.

Guy Ritchie's latest movie is about some very hard cases from the London and Russian underworlds who are all trying to cheat on one another, and about an accountant who the term femme fatale has been hanging around waiting to describe. It's one of those rare circular con jobs where you can more or less figure out what's going on, and you can more or less understand why nobody else does, although at various times, they all think they do, and at other times, you're wrong. While they engage in these miscalculations, they act terrifically dangerous to one another -- so smoothly you'd swear they were in the second year of a repertory tour.

You know who Tom Wilkinson is. You may not recognize him here, for reasons I won't describe because then you would. He's funny and terrifically dangerous as Lenny Cole, a gangster with the memory of a tax collector. He owns or has leveraged great swaths of London, including one swath urgently required by a Russian gangster named Uri Obamavich (Karel Roden), who comes to Cole. Now follow this attentively. One Two (Gerard Butler), Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy) and Mumbles (Idris Elba), whose parents may have been Dick Tracy fans, borrow $7 million from Cole to buy some land. Cole secretly owns the land and won't sell it to them, and arranges to steal the money back and demands to be paid. So he has the money and still has his land. Ken Lay would be proud.

But that's the simple part. Now Uri pays Cole $7 million to put the fix in on his own swath deal through Cole's tame London councilman, offering Cole his "good luck painting" as security. The femme fatale (Thandie Newton), Uri's accountant, sees a way to sidetrack the money herself. She hires One Two and Mumbles to steal Cole's $7 million, which she doesn't know was briefly their $7 million, from which they can pay $2 million to Cole and he won't kill them, but they lose the money and Cole doesn't have the $7 million to pay Uri, and meanwhile, the invaluable "Good Luck" painting has been stolen, so at this point I'm not sure who has the money, maybe the femme fatale, but Cole needs it to give Uri, and Uri desperately needs it for harrowing reasons of his own, and the councilman needs it to save his career.

Uri may not give a damn about his priceless painting but Cole doesn't know that, and he sends Archy (Mark Strong) and Mickey (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) to find out who stole the painting, and ohmigod! it's in the hands of Cole's own stepson, the druggie rocknrolla Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), and Cole discovers that if there's anyone harder to deal with than a Russian mafioso, it's a druggie rocknrolla stepson.

Now don't go medieval on me because I gave away the whole plot, because (1) that's only the first time around the block, (2) right now you can't remember what I said, and (3) I may have gotten large parts of it wrong, although my fingers were bleeding from scribbling notes. The bottom line is, all these people chase the same money around with the success of doggie tail-biting, and it's a lot of fun, and it's not often in these con films that everybody is conning everybody, and they're all scared to death, and nobody knows which cup the pea is under.

"RocknRolla" (which is how they say "rock and roller" in the East End) isn't as jammed with visual pyrotechnics as Ritchie's "Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel" (1998), but that's OK, because with anything more happening, the movie could induce motion sickness. It never slows down enough to be really good, and never speeds up enough to be the Bourne Mortgage Crisis, but there's one thing for sure: British actors love playing gangsters as much as American actors love playing cowboys, and it's always nice to see people having fun.

Cast & Credits

One Two Gerard Butler

Lenny Tom Wilkinson

Stella Thandie Newton

Handsome Bob Tom Hardy

Roman Jeremy Piven

Johnny Quid Toby Kebbell

Mickey Chris "Ludacris" Bridges

Warner Bros. presents a film written and directed by Guy Ritchie. Running time: 117 minutes. Rated R (for pervasive language, violence, drug use and brief sexuality).

copyright 2005, rogerebert.com

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Great news!!! Love the reviews! Thanks Barb!

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I have to say, RnR may be my favorite Gerry movie. I had been waiting for it because I like Guy Ritchie movies, but it was even better than I expected all of the performances were wonderful, I was surprised at how great Toby was, I adore Gerry's character too, but I'm a HUGE fan of Tom Hardy's as well and he was great as always. The sequels, can.not.wait for them.

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from: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.d...VIEWS/810299991

RocknRolla

Round and round the money goes

Release Date: 2008

Ebert Rating: ***

Oct 29, 2008

by Roger Ebert

But that's the simple part. Now Uri pays Cole $7 million to put the fix in on his own swath deal through Cole's tame London councilman, offering Cole his "good luck painting" as security. The femme fatale (Thandie Newton), Uri's accountant, sees a way to sidetrack the money herself. She hires One Two and Mumbles to steal Cole's $7 million, which she doesn't know was briefly their $7 million, from which they can pay $2 million to Cole and he won't kill them, but they lose the money and Cole doesn't have the $7 million to pay Uri, and meanwhile, the invaluable "Good Luck" painting has been stolen, so at this point I'm not sure who has the money, maybe the femme fatale, but Cole needs it to give Uri, and Uri desperately needs it for harrowing reasons of his own, and the councilman needs it to save his career.

A great review, but I'm just curious about something.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the money was stolen from Uri and not Cole. Uri is the one who is paying Cole for getting the paper work for the land deal cleared with no red tape. Doesn't Uri also get a second $7 million stolen and that is what tips him off that there is a mole somewhere which leads him to tail Stella? Isn't that how it goes down?

If I'm wrong could you set me straight? I have only seen it once up to now.

Edited by razberry

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Yes, it is Uri's Euros that get stolen - twice, before he can get it to Lenny to grease the palm of his insider at the council. One thing I wasnt' sure of is when Uri finds out they've been robbed a 2nd time he tells Victor that Lenny is the only one who knew about the money being transferred, I guess he was so blinded by lust/love for Stella that he never could conceive that it might be her double-crossing him.

But Uri doesn't tail Stella, it's his henchman Victor who does that. When Victor admits it to Uri his boss is not pleased about it since he doesn't want to believe Stella could be involved. I love Uri's line when Victor ticks off how much Uri's last two girlfriends cost him and Uri says "Victor, you're so cheap."

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I have to say, RnR may be my favorite Gerry movie. I had been waiting for it because I like Guy Ritchie movies, but it was even better than I expected all of the performances were wonderful, I was surprised at how great Toby was, I adore Gerry's character too, but I'm a HUGE fan of Tom Hardy's as well and he was great as always. The sequels, can.not.wait for them.

I am there with you. The more I see it, the more I love it. And what makes it such a pleasure is that EVERYBODY is great in it. I hope One Two and Bob (and Mumbles) are featured in the sequels. Theirs is a story without end! LOL. I wasn't familiar with Tom Hardy until this film but I am interested in him now. (My son is a HUGE fan of Band of Brothers). One of the things that's great about following Gerry, you pick up other interesting people along the way.

Jane

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It's great to see a positive review, even though he did get some of the plot details mixed up. :D

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