32: RocknRolla

RocknRolla – October 31, 2008
Starring: Gerard Butler, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy, Tom Wilkinson, Idris Elba, Thandie Newton, Toby Kebbell
Written and directed by: Guy Ritchie

The plot: “Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he’s helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole’s wall. While Cole’s men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld.” – IMDB

My thoughts: I need to make it clear that Guy Ritchie is one of my favorite writer/directors um…ever. I love the frenetic pace of his films, the soundtracks, and the characters he creates. I’m also a sucker for quick-witted Cockney criminals. So, RocknRolla was of course right up my alley.

Typically, Gerard Butler really bugs the shit out of me – he just comes off as being a misogynistic prick (personal opinion, I have no receipts to show for that), but I enjoyed him in this movie. But more than that? Tom Hardy was brilliant as Handsome Bob. There’s a certain twist to his character that makes him that much more enjoyable and entertaining to watch. And then there was the wonderful Idris Elba riding on a tiny motorbike wearing a tiger helmet.

This happens in this movie. Don't try to tell me you're not tempted.

The plot was fun – lots of twists and turns and “wait-who-is-that-again?” and “does-he-know-what’s-going-on?” Confusing plots can be awful, but this one was confusing in a way that it keeps you interested and guessing the whole time. And at the very least, the vulgarities, interesting insults, and fisticuffs is enough for it to get by.

Thandie Newton as…the only female in this movie was pretty badass. She had a very cool demeanor about her, the mastermind behind some money-making schemes and managing to get with Gerard in the meantime (and honestly, she’s gorgeous, so who would say no to her?) A prime bit of this movie is a scene in which she and Gerard awkwardly dance and discuss business in a manner that would look like it was a sexy exchange to a stranger watching from afar.

And finally, I can’t say enough about Toby Kebbell’s performance as Johnny Quid – a real rocknrolla. He’s a junkie to the max and artist at heart. He has some profound thoughts and steals the movie, undoubtedly. He captures the character perfectly, managing to make you sympathetic toward – maybe even to make you root for – the biggest mess-up in the movie. Also, he looks like my statistic teacher.

Really enjoyable. It still doesn’t touch Snatch in terms of awesomeness (because that cast/those characters/that soundtrack is flawless) but a really fun watch – deserving of another (or dozen) viewing.

Stars: 4.5/5

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