Theatrical Review: Rock N Rolla

Once upon a time there was a promising young movie director by the name of Guy Ritchie. This talented fellow made a name for himself primarily from two movies, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, both in the crime fiction genre. It seemed that the sky was the limit for this fellow, and then he met the singer, a famous American singer who was known for constantly re-inventing herself. And somehow or another, she managed to snag this fellow all the while re-inventing herself again as an earth mother and Queen of the Kaballah, all while starting to use a pseudo-British accent and then he bore her children (or so it seemed). Oh, Guy managed to get in another couple of movies, but something was just clearly “off” about them, almost as though his talent had been sapped from him. But eventually, as all things did with the singer/earth mother/Queen, this also came to pass, and the two were plunged into divorce. Divorce is obviously never an easy thing to go through (as this author can surely attest to), but on the upside, hope was there that maybe this talented director just might get something back- his ability to make a good movie again and not in the limelight of his more famous wife…

… and that brings us to Rock N Rolla the latest movie from director Guy Ritchie, and easily the best thing that he’s done since his first two movies… and thank goodness…

Yeah, I know I’m simplifying his situation with the above, but that’s how a lot of film fans saw this situation (or at least me), and while I don’t know the exact timeline of the making of this movie with his personal tribulations, at least this movie shows that his heart is still in it.

Rock N Rolla follows along the same lines as Ritchie’s prior crime films, being how seemingly disparate people with their own situations wind up causing trouble for bigger fish in the crime pool. Rock N Rolla brings together a band of small time hustlers with a land deal, a big fish gangster with a bigger deal, his self-styled rock and roller son with his own issues, even bigger fish Russians, and a very ambitious and sexy accountant out to get her own piece of the pie, and it does it all in a very entertaining and satisfying manner, that still shows that Guy Ritchie has “it,” though “it” is just a little quieter than Ritchie’s previous efforts.

And again, the above is a huge simplification of what this is about, but for me to go into further detail would just start something even longer than my initial paragraph…

But, I can tell you that I thought Rock N Rolla was very entertaining, filled with some very cool characters, who were extremely well drawn in a very tight and complex situation that all comes together in the end.

Ritchie’s working with some great talent here, Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Tom Wilkinson, Jeremy Piven, Chris (Ludacris) Bridges, a very talented Russian character actor Karel Roden, the extremely sexy Thandie Newton, and a British guy on the rise, Mark Strong. Mark Strong plays Archie, who’s the right hand man to Lenny played by Tom Wilkinson, the major “heavy” of the film. Archie is more or viewpoint into what’s happening here, and Strong does real nice work in the part. He’s been around for awhile, and just recently he’s been getting a lot of good notices for his work, and I could easily see this guy taking the leads more and more very soon.

In the end, yeah, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but that’s hardly a criteria for my own enjoyment of a film. When it’s well made, it’s still fun, and for me Rock N Rolla was a lot of fun and it makes me look forward to what Guy Ritchie’s next project will be. Welcome back, Guy… we missed you…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

02. November 2008 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: Text Reviews, Theatrical Review | Leave a comment

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