Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Roar Power
Jurassic World unleashed on iTunes
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

Gerard Butler
Gemma Arterton
Jeremy Piven
Thandie Newton
Tom Wilkinson
Idris Elba
Mark Strong
Tom Hardy
Karel Roden
Toby Kebbell.
Guy Ritchie.
Guy Ritchie.
Running Time
114 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
Beasts Of No Nation
4 Star Empire Rating
Nightmare, The
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Sex, drugs and a Ritchie return to form

submit to reddit

After a botched land deal, One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) steal the money they need to pay back fixer Lenny Cole (Wilkinson), with the help of accountant Stella (Newton). But their plans are complicated by a Russian oligarch and his prized painting...

Browse more images »

The biggest misconception about Guy Ritchie is that he cares what the critics think about him - he doesn’t. With his wife, his family and his brother-in-law’s stupid book in the papers on every other page these days, what the Daily Mail makes of his $20 million crime movie – a steal for its terrific cast alone - has to be pretty low down on his priorities. But the flipside of this silence is that it often seems Ritchie doesn’t care at all, which really isn’t the case. Take RocknRolla: from the Banksy-style opening credits, it’s clear that Ritchie wants this film to get to you. You can go in with your hard hearts, but this is a film that grabs your attention, holds it and, for the bulk of its running time, actually warrants it.

Another misconception that’s about to become apparent is that Ritchie made this film as a reaction to Revolver, another low-budget crime thriller that was critically rubbished. Admittedly, Revolver proved that Ritchie isn’t ready to tell a serious story, but there were scenes that, if they’d come from a Hong Kong cop movie, would have been used as collateral to justify the perplexing script. With RocknRolla, Ritchie isn’t reverting, he’s progressing, bolting this new, stranger, stronger visual style onto the kind of shaggy-dog tale that made him - only this time the actors are good enough to deliver his lines with a conviction missing from those earlier, funny ones.

As with Lock, Stock and Snatch, this is another narrative bunfight, setting up One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) as the nominal heroes who navigate us through a series of subplots, including one about a never-seen stolen painting that skews too close to Pulp Fiction’s running gag about the briefcase. But the one that stands out, so much so that it gives the film its title, is the strand dealing with Lenny Cole’s wayward son, a crack-addicted rocker called Johnny Quid. It’s a terrific turn from Toby Kebbell, making sly digs at the music industry and drawing parallels between his rock world and the underworld with a turn that veers from cadaverous and vulnerable to whippet-like and tough.

If the whole film had stuck to this, RocknRolla might have been amazing, and although there are some well-handled set-pieces - an action scene in which One Two is pursued by an unstoppable Russian Mafioso is visually arresting - the film falls down in its closing stretches. Though the comedy works well (there’s a great scene where the gay Handsome Bob (Hardy) has his way with One Two), the final reel is just too light, with a touch of sitcom about the - almost - consequence-free finale.

Storytelling isn’t Ritchie’s forte - yet. But if he were to engage a little more with the artistic process, that could easily change over time. It would also be nice if Ritchie was more vocal about what he’s patently so good at instead of keeping a dignified silence, one that leaves us with the false impression that this is his equivalent of pottering in the garden shed to get a bit of peace and quiet, dreaming of an imaginary world where the News Of The World is more interested in Barack Obama, and that woman indoors is simply Mrs. Ritchie.

A kinetic, funny, well-cast crime caper, RocknRolla proves Ritchie is still the lord of his manor - if not exactly Shakespeare.

Reviewed by Damon Wise

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for RocknRolla
Empire Star Rating

Where is the sequel?!

It's weird that this film is so divisive, I LOVED it, and I'm not the biggest Ritchie fan. Great cast, plenty of action and humour, and some really brilliant bits of dialogue in there. It's almost like the Departed if the Departed was hilarious and british. Where is the Real RocknRolla? Where?! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by freyar_88 at 21:06, 30 July 2012 | Report This Post

RocknRolla Review

There have been mixed reviews for Guy Ritchie's return to his London-based cockney wideboy gangster movie roots, but it's a step in the right direction following two very bad films. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 17:54, 30 December 2011 | Report This Post


Entertaining in some areas, horrendous in others. Not one of Ritchie's better efforts. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Turd Ferguson at 16:25, 28 December 2011 | Report This Post


Really, really crap. Full of annoying characters and moronic dialogue which is supposed to be witty but fails miserably. Just thinking about it makes me want to hunt down Guy Ritchie and deliver an unmerciful boot to his nads. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Spacegoat at 16:27, 26 September 2010 | Report This Post


what are u stupid or something only wankers like you would like movies like this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by naveed at 22:17, 16 July 2010 | Report This Post



Empire User Rating

Posted by 00283466 at 08:31, 19 April 2010 | Report This Post

There's no school like the old school and I'm the fucking headmaster!

If you go into a Guy Ritchie film expecting the Godfather you'll leave dissapointed, if you sit back and enjoy it for all it's cartoon cockneys and cartoon violence then you'll thoroughly enjoy it!! I think this review is bang on the button and I loved this film!! It has as many great quotes as Snatch or Lock Stock!! So if you don't like this you need to get slapped or sent to school!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Andybee76 at 22:30, 31 March 2010 | Report This Post


Great, funny gangster film. Well done. Great ending. Gambon, Strong, and Butler are great. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 22:46, 29 March 2010 | Report This Post

A Bit Too Pleased With Itself, but Fun

Guy Ritchie shows that he isn't out there to make Hitchcock or Bergman classics, purely out there to enjoy himself and entertain audiences. A great rocknroll ride - its got jokes, action, thrills, characters... loved it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JoKeRJaMeZ at 12:45, 17 July 2009 | Report This Post


Naveed, TheGodfather, Juan, elvoys...GO FUCK YOURSELVES! This is a perfectly good, entertaining, funny, stylistic movie and EMPIRE's dead on the money...even wankers like you should know that! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by !xHoTRoDx! at 11:17, 19 March 2009 | Report This Post

Pretty poor

Was it me or did the Tom Wilkinson being a "rat" squarely lifted from The Departed, I agree with Empire that the painting gag is pinched from Pulp Fiction (briefcase!!) and the bit when One-Two is tied up and gagged and Archie come to his rescue, remenber Ving Rhames & Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction. LET ME MAKE IT CLEAR THAT GUY RITCHIE IS NO QUENTIN TARANTINO AND CERTAINLY NOT MARTIN SCORSESE...NOT EVEN IN HIS DREAMS. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by naveed at 20:53, 17 March 2009 | Report This Post


yeh it has a few unanswered questions towards the end but fuck it i was glued to this film the whole way through. i was surprised at just how much better it was than revolver. i really like this movie it was like lock stock and snatch but had more of a serious layer cake feel to it. highly recommended ! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jerkyjudas at 13:28, 05 February 2009 | Report This Post

One of the worst films I have ever seen. I'll give it 1/100 and I'm being generous with that rating ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Juan Calot at 15:52, 02 February 2009 | Report This Post

One of the worst films I have ever seen. I'll give it 1/100 and I'm being generous with that rating ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Juan Calot at 15:52, 02 February 2009 | Report This Post

Dont worry he cant defend himself..he's got no head

I think some ppl have taken this film far too seriously! It was brilliant and thats coming from a girl!! Just sit back and relax and let ritchie take you along for the ride! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Louise123 at 13:54, 16 November 2008 | Report This Post

Is the review for real??

I`m shocked to see Empire giving this piece of shite 4 stars. I saw it yesterday. Guy Ritchie gives in his newest film in just over 90 minutes a crash course "how do I screw up a potentially good script and a great cast?" Because man oh man what a mess this was. I had hoped for a new Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels but that hope was already killed after about 30 minutes. There really isn`t too much good about it: one-dimensional characters, terrible sense of humor. And especial... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 17:50, 10 October 2008 | Report This Post


I am completely baffled by this Empire review. Four stars is undeservedly generous. The film was terrible: overly self-aware; unoriginal; convoluted; poorly cast; and dull in parts. Tom Wilkinson, whom I love in so many things, was really dry here. His character's relationship with Archy feels very forced and unnatural. I concur, the scene with the invincible Russians is silly, but amusing and stylishly done. The rest of the film really drags, and the end ultimately unsatisfying. The idea of a s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sandiemay at 16:26, 07 October 2008 | Report This Post


cmon empire. plaese roll forward april 1st when this can be added to the list of 4 star efforts that you have been utterly taking the piss with past year (ie black sheep pineapple express, wanted to name a few) kermode is kind to this cack. oh, and it is very rare that a film makes you want to kick the screen but that twat in this who acts hard (jonny quid) has amazingly become the most annoying prick in movie history. the frank spencer routine is one of those that when read any actor with self ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by elvoys at 12:19, 27 September 2008 | Report This Post

Lock, Stock and RocknRoll!

Just came from the cinema after seeing it with my dad. When I asked what he thought, he simply said that " Its what you expect from him (Guy Ritchie) ." Which I assume meant he thought it was Ok, not a bad movie, not a landmark, but what about me? Having only seen Snatch and Lock Stock, I had not been exposed to Guy Ritchie's less than postive movies (Swept Away, Revolver), so I wasn't exactly blown away either, however I was not let down as well. If you've seen Ritchie's first two mov... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dgribble at 00:36, 27 September 2008 | Report This Post

Rocknrolla rocks

Definitely Ritchie's best film since Snatch. If you liked that and Lock, Stock then you're bound to like this as well. Ritchie returns to the familiar crime caper from those films but overall it feels a bit more stylish and not so light hearted (although there are some genuinely funny moments). Butler is excellent as 1-2 and Newton is a sexy as ever (but unforgiveably forgotten about come the end credits). I agree with Empire's view about the stolen painting - just seemed to be a distraction fro... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trueborndjross at 08:54, 25 September 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Rocknrolla

thandie newton would get it.... slow first half, even with the zippy editing second half made up for it though. ... More

Posted by Sumintelligentguy at 23:56, 18 September 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Rocknrolla

I agonised long and hard about the rating for this film and I am still not sure that I have got it right to satsify even myself.  My main issues with this film are the latent and rather casual xenophobia, rascism and homophobia that pervade the film and the fact that it feels out of date - if you are going to make your references and influences so blatant (Abramovich and the "Russian invasion", the housing boom, Pete Doherty, Ken's cronies, numerous nods to Pulp Fiction etc), you have... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Groovy Mule at 11:26, 17 September 2008 | Report This Post


A slow first half is compensated by a very good second. Definatly one of the slickest films of the year like the rest of guy richie's. I will go and see the real rocknrolla ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Blue Ryan at 19:12, 13 September 2008 | Report This Post

Spot on review from Empire

A very enjoyable film and the Empire review is spot on! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 13:24, 12 September 2008 | Report This Post

RE: RocknRolla

Let's face it.  You're probably a wanker if you thought the title was snazzy.  Similarly - and there's sufficient evidence for this - if you liked the film then…well, you probably deserve it. When Guy Ritchie alumni Matthew Vaughan was set to release his directorial debut feature there was a definite air of condescension about it all, an sson at his naïve temerity to go it alone.  It turns out Vaughan's only lowly ambition for the excellent Layer Cake was to attempt some sen... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by demoncleaner at 10:00, 12 September 2008 | Report This Post

More user comments

The 666 Greatest Horror Movie Characters
Be afraid, be very afraid...

14 Things You Didn't Know About Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller unveils the secrets of his apocalyptic wasteland

A-List Directors, interviewed by Sam Mendes
Nolan, Spielberg, Fincher, Whedon and more…

Stephen Frears On The Program
'To me, this was a crime story'

Empire's Best Horror Films For Halloween
An unlucky thirteen triple-bills

Emily Blunt Talks Sicario
On the five-star thriller, puke acting and taking Tom Cruise to The Box

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)