Written and directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Idris Elba, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy
Chaos ensues as numerous underworld characters scramble for their share of a multi-million dollar real estate deal. Things get complicated as the criminals cross and double-cross one another.
RocknRolla is the fifth feature film from writer and director Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes). Like his other films, this one features a large cast of great actors. This time Gerard Butler (Machine Gun Preacher), Tom Wilkinson (Selma), and Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) are featured. The movie also stars Thandie Newton (Crash), Mark Strong (The Imitation Game), and Tom Hardy (The Revenant).
This story is a complex tale of deception, mixed with just the right amount of comedy. Guy Ritchie’s unique sense of style is all over this one. He puts together sequences of great comedic dialogue that lightens up the otherwise dark tone of the story. The story isn’t actually that unique or complicated, and falls into the same world as a lot of heist films. In most cases you wouldn’t laugh during a film like this. By twisting things just a little, Ritchie finds a way to make the horrible into the hilarious. The result is a wild romp mixing up the bumbling criminals, the junkies, the crime bosses, and everyone else. This isn’t a very original story, but Ritchie’s work gives it something unique and overall it’s pretty fun.
The acting in this movie really brings out the quirky sensibilities in the script. Even with more serious roles, people like Tom Wilkinson and Mark Strong find ways to make things fun. Gerard Butler and Idris Elba are a fun duo in this one. Their chemistry really helps to make their roles stand out. They also get to share time on the screen with Tom Hardy. His performance is unexpectedly great in this movie.
Thandie Newton also adds a nice feminine touch to this macho heist movie. Luckily, none of the cast did too much with their roles in this movie. This could’ve easily been campy had the cast pushed too hard for the comedic elements of their performances. Instead, this material is elevated by the good work of the cast.
Beyond the dialogue, the other signature aspect of a Guy Ritchie film is the visual stylization. Cinematographer David Higgs does a nice job keeping the visuals in line with the script. The sets, locations, and costuming also add to the weirdly fun world of the movie. The editing also does a great job keeping the pace of this film from slowing very often.
As a whole, this is a good movie that might have been great. The weakness of the plot is the biggest issue in this one. There’s something very derivative about the main arc of the film. Luckily, the movie is bolstered by great dialogue, nice acting, and a fun visual style. Fans of Ritchie’s films will likely still love this one. I would also recommend it to fans of the many stars. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.