- Guy Ritchie
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Thatís not to say itís not bombastic, because it is, but one wonders after so many spins what the point is if any. We get that British lowlifes can be as involuntarily funny as anyone and that the convolutions of life can often lead to unmistakably hilarious crossroads that are no fun for those who live them, but plenty for those who watch them, but so what. Thereís a very low point in the middle when all of the stories have kicked off and seem to go nowhere. I think I may have dozed off for a few seconds there, but soon enough it went off and upwards. I quite enjoyed the denouement, but couldnít get over the rather painstaking first half.
The stories are, as ever, a bunch of excuses to poke fun at tough guys stuck in Catch-22ís despite their power or abilities. Even after more than ten years, one canít help but be melancholically reminded of the best ever example of this in Quentin Tarantinoís Pulp Fiction (1994).
The official trigger is the unwise decision of One-Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) to try to get a business started with the help of the mob tycoon Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson). Lenny, who controls everything, screws them bad and now they owe him big bucks that they set to acquire wherever possible.
Out of control, Lenny, who pulls strings virtually everywhere to control virtually everything, as has been for many years, only finds his match in Russian millionaire Uri (Karel Roden), who buys his influence and lends him his ďlucky paintingĒ. The painting, one of those cinematic artifices that is never seen but awes everyone and means the world to some characters, is subsequently stolen and complicates the deal, driving Uri to prove how powerful he really is. That such futilities provoke such great consequences is not always plausible, so suspension of disbelief is required, which doesnít really come easy every time.
The struggle between Lenny and Uri is the most entertaining element of the story because of everything it unwinds, including Lennyís forced reconciliation with his estranged stepson, the RocknRolla, Johnny Quid. Meanwhile, One-Two and Mumbles get into so much trouble to get their money, in great part encouraged by bored and horny accountant Stella (Thandie Newton), that their segments become even slapsticky. Itís all in good fun, and with an array of impossibly-named characters perfectly cast, a bald Tom Wilkinson being the standout, one canít really complain about RocknRollaÖ or call it memorable.
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