Monday, September 15, 2008

Dart Adams presents The Dartflix Film Review: RocknRolla AKA Are You Rock Or Disco?

Guy Ritchie’s “comeback” film opened in UK recently but it's available on the internet. Since I'm a fan of Guy Ritchie's films that don't feature Madonna I decided to see it and write a review about it. Ritchie’s (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells, Snatch) last effort was a complex crime drama that went over most people’s heads in “Revolver”. That film took two years to get released in North America but “RocknRolla” will be on DVD in North America around March by my estimations. It centers around shady land deals, the London real estate boom, the underworld and the people loosely associated with a huge London tycoon/gangster working on a deal with a wealthy Russian immigrant.

Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) is doing a land deal with Russian businessman Uri (Karel Roden) and all he has to do is pay him $7 million pounds to get his team of lawyers and politicians to push the deal through and get the proper permits and paperwork. Little does Uri know that his accountant Stella (Thandie Newton) is working with the other side to complicate the deal. Enter the Wild Bunch led by One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba).

The Wild Bunch work for Lenny and they handle his underworld dealings which include robbing Uri’s people after they get a hold of the deal money following a tip off from Stella. Uri also gave Lenny a piece of art he believes to be his lucky painting as a token of friendship for him to hold until the deal is finalized that plays a big part in the film since Lenny’s presumed dead at sea drug addict rock star stepson Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell) steals it right off of his wall and disappears.

Uri asks Lenny for his lucky painting back and realizes that the only people that knew about the deal were Lenny Cole and Stella the accountant so he orders his people to watch the accountant whom he also has eyes for. Meanwhile Stella has been working with One Two and Lenny tells all of his people to find Johnny and Uri’s painting because it can potentially sour the transaction and gum up the works as Lenny has all of the people under his thumb working on the deal and the delay is disastrous.

The search for Johnny Quid brings Lenny to his managers Roman (Ludacris) and Mickey (Jeremy Piven) and he puts the clamps on them to find his stepson and return his property. They, in turn, seek out Cookie (Matt King) in hopes of locating him, returning the missing painting and getting the highly volatile old and powerful gangster off of their backs. Before you know it everyone in London's underworld is looking for the damn thing as well.

Meanwhile, Stella is tipping off One Two as a second attempt to pay Lenny the $7 million pounds goes down. Cole is sweating bullets because he needs the painting and the deal is going nowhere. Uri is shitting bricks because he’s not only out $7 million but his lucky painting is missing and he could potentially lose $14 million with nothing to show for it. Uri is not amused and he isn't afraid to let Lenny know it.

One of the running issues in the film is that one of the members of the Wild Bunch is going to jail for six years because of an anonymous tip that leads the crew to believe that one of the boys in Cole’s employ is a snitch. In exchange for information regarding who that snitch is, One Two and Mumbles do work for Stella the accountant and her lawyer husband. After they go for the second robbery attempt on Uri’s people and time begins to run out on the deal Uri begins to get a bit more forceful and the shit finally hits the fan.

The climax of the film brings this whole crime drama to head as some signature Guy Ritchie twists and turns happen and we end up with everyone's stories and issues getting resolved. This film had elements of Lock, Stock.., Snatch and Revolver and they all blended seamlessly together as few things happened that I didn't see coming at all when the film ended which was nice for a change.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and I made it a point not to reveal any of the really important spoilers but give folks that wouldn’t normally care to see a Guy Ritchie film enough information that they might be interested enough to check it out. Trust me, so much more shit happens with characters that I didn't even mention in this flick that I didn’t even scratch the surface of it.

“RocknRolla” opened in the UK on September 5th (and premiered at #1 in the UK box office) and will be in limited release in the US starting October 10th and then go into wide release on October 31st. I also couldn't go without posting a picture of Gemma Arterton (Quantum Of Solace this November!). I give "RocknRolla" a mos def and I’m looking forward to the second part of the “RocknRolla” trilogy. Aw damn! That’s supposed to be a surprise! LOL.


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