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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Gerard Butler
Gemma Arterton
Jeremy Piven
Thandie Newton
Tom Wilkinson
Idris Elba
Mark Strong
Ludacris
Tom Hardy
Karel Roden
Toby Kebbell.
Directors
Guy Ritchie.
Screenwriters
Guy Ritchie.
Running Time
114 minutes

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RocknRolla
Sex, drugs and a Ritchie return to form


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Plot
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...


Review
RocknRolla
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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.


Verdict
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

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for RocknRolla
Empire Star Rating

RE:

I was disappointed. There's a good film in there but Richie has over-egged his film again with serveral superfluous plot lines. If everything apart from Johnny Quid, the Wild Bunch and Tom Wilkinson had been cut, you'd have a much tighter, entertaining albeit predicable film. The whole, the big Kingpin is the rat thing, we'd seen that in Layer Cake so it didn't really come as a surprise especially seeing as Mark Strong, Gerard Butler and co seemed to be subbing for Colm Meaney and Daniel ... More

Posted by Timon at 08:19, 12 September 2008 | Report This Post


Im gonna be back for the 'Real RocknRolla' too. Haha great fun! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Patrick Evans at 19:14, 11 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Not really very good.  The subtitled dancing scene between Butler and Newton was great because of its intentional awfulness and the subplot involving Butler and the gay one was amusing but aside from that the rest of the film was just dull.  Not worth seeing at the cinema but a random rental in six months time maybe. ... More

Posted by Gazdance at 15:51, 11 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE:

I was really looking forward to this after reading some reviews and enjoying lock, stock and Snatch but other than ome decent dialogue that made me snigger a few times, the odd decent scene, i found it a bit dull. Some of the actors involved were barely did anything but Johnny Quid and Berbatov (Archie) were pretty good. 2/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by benmharper at 16:23, 10 September 2008 | Report This Post


rocknrolla isnt quite the return to formof the snatch days but as a lightweight caper movie it willdo it has none of the smugness than can taint the oceans movies. good perfs by tom wilkinson thandie newton is cooly sexy gerard butler if toby keebels character was meant to be a irritating twat he suceeded i cheered inwardly when he got shot unfortunately he survived and they wan to base the film around him next time! count me out ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by quizkid at 12:19, 10 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

Pffft! Well I loved it you miserable bastards! ... More

Posted by Goodfella at 23:11, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

L: adambatman82 L: adambatman82 L: talpacino L: adambatman82 L: Goodfella Well Guy Ritchie's back isn't he? s top class from one of the best British directors of all time.t really care that all his films are in the same vein, stick to what you're good at. The cast were outstanding once again, especially Tom Wilkinson as underground boss Lenny Cole. The storyline was fairly predictable at points but the humour of Ritchie is what is really inspiring and his ... More

Posted by talpacino at 16:27, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

L: adambatman82 L: talpacino L: adambatman82 L: Goodfella Well Guy Ritchie's back isn't he? s top class from one of the best British directors of all time.t really care that all his films are in the same vein, stick to what you're good at. The cast were outstanding once again, especially Tom Wilkinson as underground boss Lenny Cole. The storyline was fairly predictable at points but the humour of Ritchie is what is really inspiring and his ability to create s... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 15:49, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

L: talpacino L: adambatman82 L: Goodfella Well Guy Ritchie's back isn't he? s top class from one of the best British directors of all time.t really care that all his films are in the same vein, stick to what you're good at. The cast were outstanding once again, especially Tom Wilkinson as underground boss Lenny Cole. The storyline was fairly predictable at points but the humour of Ritchie is what is really inspiring and his ability to create some of the funniest and t... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 15:47, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

L: adambatman82 L: Goodfella Well Guy Ritchie's back isn't he? s top class from one of the best British directors of all time.t really care that all his films are in the same vein, stick to what you're good at. The cast were outstanding once again, especially Tom Wilkinson as underground boss Lenny Cole. The storyline was fairly predictable at points but the humour of Ritchie is what is really inspiring and his ability to create some of the funniest and touching characters in ... More

Posted by talpacino at 15:25, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

I didn't hate it, nor did I particularly enjoy it.  It was the very definition of 'average'.    The dialogue was painfully forced, and felt like it was made of tiny snippets of dialogue that could be used to make a zippy and humourous trailer.  Mark Strong and Tony Kebbel were the highlights in terms of acting.  If the whole film had been as engaging, pacey and humourous as the heist gone wrong, it would've been a 4 or 5 start effort.  As it stands, ... More

Posted by porntrooper at 15:17, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

L: adambatman82 L: Goodfella Well Guy Ritchie's back isn't he? s top class from one of the best British directors of all time.t really care that all his films are in the same vein, stick to what you're good at. The cast were outstanding once again, especially Tom Wilkinson as underground boss Lenny Cole. The storyline was fairly predictable at points but the humour of Ritchie is what is really inspiring and his ability to create some of the funniest and touching characters in ... More

Posted by Goodfella at 13:37, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

L: Goodfella Well Guy Ritchie's back isn't he? s top class from one of the best British directors of all time.t really care that all his films are in the same vein, stick to what you're good at. The cast were outstanding once again, especially Tom Wilkinson as underground boss Lenny Cole. The storyline was fairly predictable at points but the humour of Ritchie is what is really inspiring and his ability to create some of the funniest and touching characters in cinema history. Also... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 13:20, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

L: Scabby My God man, did you just give that film 5 stars? I feel like I've watched a different film to everyone else! The humour was pretty flat compared to Lock, Stock and Snatch, the ending was a non-event, Piven was wasted, plot was all over the place and it was probably one of the most poorly edited films I've seen in a long time. No pace, nothing exciting (bar the heist gone wrong) and a bunch of characters that although well acted, have no script to work with. This was definatly no... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 13:09, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

My God man, did you just give that film 5 stars? I feel like I've watched a different film to everyone else! The humour was pretty flat compared to Lock, Stock and Snatch, the ending was a non-event, Piven was wasted, plot was all over the place and it was probably one of the most poorly edited films I've seen in a long time. No pace, nothing exciting (bar the heist gone wrong) and a bunch of characters that although well acted, have no script to work with. This was definatl... More

Posted by Scabby at 11:45, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

Well Guy Ritchie's back isn't he?   That was top class from one of the best British directors of all time. I don't really care that all his films are in the same vein, stick to what you're good at. The cast were outstanding once again, especially Tom Wilkinson as underground boss Lenny Cole. The storyline was fairly predictable at points but the humour of Ritchie is what is really inspiring and his ability to create some of the funniest and touching characters in cinema history. Also h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Goodfella at 10:04, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

The central plot wasn't even remotely hard to follow, only thing I thought daft was a superflous mini-plot near the start where Lenny rips off Mumbers and One, Two over that building. It has nothing to do with the story, and doesn't set up any dynamics between characters. All it does is show Lenny as a bit of a crafty sod (like any of the characters need setting up for that) and in a film with so many characters, there's know need to complicate things with a sub-plot with no purpose. One t... More

Posted by DanCurley at 07:35, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Anther winner

L: timbailey60 Although the plot is more complicated than those in 'Lock,Stock' and 'Snatch' it all sorta comes together by the end. However the most important and enjoyable aspect of this film is that it is very, very funny. "You know why they call me 'Tank' don't you?" ust out of interest, what on earth is it that you found complicated about the plot? a few reviews have mentioned that it may be hard to follow, but im confused by this point. sure the plot had plenty of problems, but... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 00:25, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Gutted!!!!!

L: jwd_73 Oh i see not me never walked out of a film yet (maybe i am too tight)ually my Aunt walked my cousins and I out of 2001 when the apemen started beating the other apeman.gn] sp; That's outragous! That's n of man nott scene in monkey magic!   I left a film after 10 minutes that starred Dennis Waterman (remember his name in the opening credits) cos some farmers started chopping baby foxes up with spades. Burst into tears and did a burton. Must one day be arsed finding ou... More

Posted by DanCurley at 23:21, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Gutted!!!!!

L: DanCurley L: jwd_73 d I do???ht it was (ok ill say it) Good but felt there was something missing but nothing worth a post mortem in my book. it all the way through even to the scene in the crediits, laughed a good few times and I will buy it on dvd and watch it again. I was even going to try Revolver again as it sits there next to snatch and lock stock on the shelf.ote] I thought you said you left halfway through it was so painful, musta crossed wires. hat was another post... More

Posted by Scabby at 22:59, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


Anther winner

Although the plot is more complicated than those in 'Lock,Stock' and 'Snatch' it all sorta comes together by the end. However the most important and enjoyable aspect of this film is that it is very, very funny. "You know why they call me 'Tank' don't you?" ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by timbailey60 at 22:59, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Gutted!!!!!

Oh i see not me never walked out of a film yet (maybe i am too tight)ually my Aunt walked my cousins and I out of 2001 when the apemen started beating the other apeman.gn] ... More

Posted by jwd_73 at 22:55, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Gutted!!!!!

L: jwd_73  d I do???ht it was (ok ill say it) Good but felt there was something missing but nothing worth a post mortem in my book. it all the way through even to the scene in the crediits, laughed a good few times and I will buy it on dvd and watch it again. I was even going to try Revolver again as it sits there next to snatch and lock stock on the shelf.ote]   I thought you said you left halfway through it was so painful, musta crossed wires. ... More

Posted by DanCurley at 22:50, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Gutted!!!!!

L: DanCurley L: Scabby L: jwd_73 Went to see it yesterday and enjoyed it , to me it felt like a nearly good film just there was something missing that I couldn't put my finger on. Yes it rambled a little here and there but it kept my interest all the way through and the actors were all on form especially Gerald Butler , Mark Strong and the dude from peep show made me raise my eyebrows.bell was very good and made me want to watch dead mans shoes again..ote] It was nearlly a g... More

Posted by jwd_73 at 22:40, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


RE: RocknRolla

L: bobbydee As much as I initially thought that this will be another howler from Guy Ritchie, I'm actually quite looking forward to seeing it after seeing who's in it and the good things i am hearing from those who have seen it. With Tom WIlkinson, Gerard Butler, Idris Elba and Toby Kebbell in it, surely it can't be bad. I eagerly await finding out! ont get your hopes up, its terrible. just listen to mark kermode's review, its ten times funnier. ... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 21:12, 08 September 2008 | Report This Post


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