Neither rocking nor rolling

What’s all this about Guy Ritchie’s Rocknrolla being a ‘return to form’? The film is mediocre at best.

First off comes one thing that really isn’t Mr Madge’s fault: it’s all about the ever-rising London property market, which, er, stopped rising right after this film was in the can. A year’s a long time in the London market, and this film feels as dated as Wall Street. However, there are too many other faults to forgive.

The characters are lazily drawn. Why was the Russian billionaire based so blatantly on Roman Abramovich, even clunkily inserting a football stadium and stubble into the art direction? And there wasn’t enough violence, making the film feel lightweight: Eastern Promises did it far better. There wasn’t enough comedy to make it another Snatch, nor enough storytelling to keep your attention. Worst of all, it’s not even a complete film: the final frame’s about the next film, leaving many plot threads untied. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

There’s only one good sequence – a slow-motion chase on foot between London wideboys and Russian mobsters as they get steadily more injured – but overall, the film’s slow-moving, with not enough action, and resorts to that laziest of all scripting tools, the narrative voiceover. The sense of waiting for things to happen is almost as bad as Ocean’s 13. And the sex scene with Thandie Newton lasts only seconds without interesting visuals, and if you’re filming a sex scene with Thandie, you really owe it to your viewers to show more than just her face.

The only reason I can imagine critics are calling this a ‘return to form’ is that they’re comparing it with Revolver, surely a candidate for Worst Film Ever Made. It really wasn’t worth the effort.

4 thoughts on “Neither rocking nor rolling

  1. Honestly dont understand the fuss about Guy Ritchie, two initial films – one very good, one slightly less good but still pushing the envelope. Then he puts out dross for a decade afterwards and is still considered a demi-god. Exactly the same applies to Tarantino. I like neither of them.

  2. I think it's often the case with guys (in any field) who have basically one idea – let's face it, Lock/Stock and Snatch were the same story with the character names changed, and so is 'Rocknrolla' (Lenny = Brick Top, Bob and OneTwo = the Jason Statham and sidekick characters, etc etc.) Don't agree that Tarantino is the same though – he's obviously the greatest director ever born.

  3. Natural Born Killers (written by him), Death Proof (as he intended, sandwiched as two 'Grindhouse' films back to back), and I admit liking 'Kill Bill'. Yes, he's a one trick pony but at least the trick's a good one, unlike Guy Ritchie's mediocrity…

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