A crooked land deal brings various London gangsters together
as the old regime is about to be overtaken by foreign gangsters.
Written and Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong,
Thandiwe Newton, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Toby Kebbell,
Karel Roden, Ludacris, Jeremy Piven, Jimi Mistry, Matt King
I'm a big fan of Guy Ritchie's signature style, especially when it comes to gangster films. Snatch, The Gentlemen, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels have all become favorites of mine, and RocknRolla was always just sort of lingering out of reach. Now that I've finally seen it, I'm glad it maintained that style that Ritchie's fans have come to expect and enjoy. That being said, the story is a bit confusing at times and the characters aren't as memorable as Turkish, Brick Top, or Fletcher, just to name a few from Ritchie's roster of unforgettable characters. Overall, it's not up to par and tries too hard at times.
In London, two smalltime gangsters named One Two (Butler) and Mumbles (Elba) are hired by a mob accountant (Newton) to rob her client, a Russian gangster (Roden) of $7 million. This robbery creates a rift of tension between the Russian and his potential London partner, big time gangster and money lender Lenny Cole (Wilkinson). Lenny also believes One Two and Mumbles stole a valuable painting from him, but it was actually stolen by his junkie rock star stepson Johnny Quid (Kebbell), who recently faked his own death. See what I mean? Unlike his previous and future work, Ritchie has a tough time making all this fit together in a coherent narrative. Plus, I have no clue why Ludacris and Jeremy Piven are here, but they do not fit in this cast at all.
RocknRolla has a number of signature Guy Ritchie stylized moments and a killer soundtrack, but the story isn't all that engrossing and leaves you wanting more. Plus, I doubt we'll ever get the promised sequel. Diehard Ritchie fans will likely take something away from this, but most people should stick to Snatch.