Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Written & Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Cinematography By: David Higgs
Editor: James Herbert
Cast: Gerard Butler, Mark Strong, Tom Wilkinson, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton, Toby Kebbell, Jeremy Piven, Ludacris, Karel Roden, Jimi Mistry, Matt King, Gemma Arterton
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.
I'll admit this is far from his best. It still is a likeable film. That finds Guy Ritchie in his usual environment of crime stories with underground syndicate of criminals only with a more comedic edge. Here he also has a bigger name cast. That most were either established familiar character actors or were on the verge of stardom.
As usual the tale involves an ensemble of characters. The characters make moves like chess pieces as every reaction is intricate to the story and fates of the characters and their fortunes. As everyone seems out to con or pull one over on each other. Even friends and lovers.
They are all important to the bigger story and have to move a certain way for plans to work. The philosophical revealing conversations roll by like regular conversations that reveal the psychological depths and motives of the characters.
Guy Ritchie is a true auteur. You can tell a film is directed by him, by it's look, language and themes. Luckily for him his style lends itself to a more mainstream blockbuster type. Which explains his Sherlock Holmes series of films. He usually writes all of his non-studio specific films. He likes crime stories and the camaraderie between men, with moments that can go from jovial and funny one minute to terrifyingly violent the next.
In this film with the inclusion of so many homosexual characters and themes which had been largely absent from his previous work and the philosophy makes me believe his ex-wife Madonna, may have been an influence on his writing here or maybe he has just matured. Since as he has so had his films. His films seem to rely on the different class struggles of the English. He still has unique angles and karma is a major theme in this film.
There is more dialogue and less action. Though there is a spectacular action sequence. He keeps cutting it up cross cutting it with a continuing conversation. Not a great edit, but an attempt at something different.
It's interesting to see mark strong Play a character with a full head of hair. While Tom Wilkinson doesn't. I will admit that this is the first film I really noticed mark strong as an actor. He really made an impression on me in this film.
Stylish as always, funny in a macabre way at times, bit definitely more of a man's type film.
Though the American actors Jeremy Piven and Ludacris are more here for show pieces. As their characters could have been cut and still the film wouldn't have missed a beat. They are just here to round out a semi-famous cast and help out the box office.
Though Gerard butler is very likeable. The standout in the cast is Tony Kemmel he steals all of his scenes and has a certain star quality as Johnny quid he is charismatic. He is also the soul of the movie though each character is memorable on their own way. Even though his character though vital seems mostly on the fringes of the film for most of the running time and when he finally gets major screen time it seems worth the build up.
Maybe the film feels a little slight as it is a set-up for a sequel that seems promised by the ending though doesn't look like it will ever happen THE REAL ROCKNROLLA According to director Guy Ritchie, this is the first in a trilogy. Before the credits reads a title card, "The Wild Bunch will return in The Real RockNRolla". Hinting that this will be the next installment, "The Real RockNRolla". Though it might be hard to get the cast back together as they are better known these days and stars in their own light
I wish there was going to be a sequel, but I don't know how likely it is as the film wasn't a smash hit. Though it might have made a good limited series. Though might have needed some filler. The main entertainment is watching everyone con each other that they know or suspect to a certain degree. Yet Still Fall For it.
The film just seems a little disappointing compared to what it seemed to promise or what is expected.
I give Guy Ritchie credit as one of the few filmmakers whose films usually has a diverse cast particularly with African Americans. When he doesn't really have to and that the roles are not written as typical purely African American type roles. It gives them a chance to show range.
As usual in this film there is only one main female character and it doesn't hurt. She is played by screen goddess (at least to me ) Thandie Newton.
Surprisingly Ritchie's usual cast member Vinnie Jones is missed in the proceedings. Here he would have most likely played the role of one of the Russian monsters Hit men or cookie the drug dealer. Though it seems that Gerard butler's role would have been written for him. But might not have been ready as jones has never played a lead.