• Year:2008
  • Rating:MA
  • Director:Guy Ritchie
  • Cast:Gemma Arterton, Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Jeremy Piven, Tom Wilkinson
  • Release Date:October 30, 2008
  • Distributor:Roadshow
  • Running time:114 minutes
  • Film Worth:$9.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

“…has the sprawl of a hardboiled novel…”


Guy Ritchie's Rocknrolla has spawned those irritating "he's back in form" type over-statements from ga-ga critics on both sides of the Atlantic. The point is, was he ever in form? Driven by cockney bovver boy riffs culled from The Long Good Friday, Minder and The Sweeney, and a visual style remarkable for its relentless spray of music video techniques minus a strong personality and point of view, Ritchie's movies (the over-rated Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) are fun but dumb. Ritchie likes to clown with crooks, rather than risk getting dirty with them. The really irksome thing about his pictures is the ultra-conservative mind-set, which casts criminals as idiots, and therefore as unimportant.

Sure enough, Rocknrolla has the lads, the language, bags of money and even a light pass at "social commentary" at the expense of London's developers - it seems that they're corrupt. The film has the sprawl of a hardboiled novel, but without the richness of character that the best of that genre has to offer.

Basically there's a crime kingpin (Tom Wilkinson) with his own idiosyncratic way of keeping his underlings in line; his real problem is with the Russian mafia and his errant pop star junkie stepson. The plot is so tangled and intricate that markers and white boards should be standard issue for movie patrons on entry to the cinema, but it's actually of little purpose, consequence or interest. Ritchie is absolutely in love with his own dialogue and atmosphere; much of the film consists simply of characters slagging off the other in studied two-shot. Fortunately, the players are good - especially Mark Strong, from BBC's The Long Firm - and the tone, luckily, has a more "lived-in" feel than the pre-fab East End fantasies of Ritchie's other pics.

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