Starring Thandie Newton and Gerard Butler, director Guy Ritchie’s crime thriller follows a variety of crooks from London’s underworld who set out to nab millions of dollars left for the taking when a Russian mobster’s real estate scam falls apart. The first part of a planned trilogy, RocknRolla co-stars Jeremy Piven, Ludacris, Tom Wilkinson, Gemma Arterton, Jamie Campbell Bower, Mark Strong and Idris Elba. [Netflix RocknRolla]
Other than the momentary shock at hearing Idris Elba1 speak with a non-Baltimore accent2, a typical Guy Ritchie film. Enjoyable fluff, a few cringes at clumsy dialogue, several over-the-top stylistic editorial elisions, and some excellent soundtrack choices3. If you’ve seen any other of Guy Ritchie’s films, you know what to expect: no new ground is broken here. I’ve seen worse, and better. Still, watched the entire movie, despite its lack of depth. Not every film is worthy of Criterion Collection status.
As Roger Ebert concludes:
“RocknRolla” (which is how they say “rock and roller” in the East End) isn’t as jammed with visual pyrotechnics as Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel” (1998), but that’s OK, because with anything more happening, the movie could induce motion sickness. It never slows down enough to be really good, and never speeds up enough to be the Bourne Mortgage Crisis, but there’s one thing for sure: British actors love playing gangsters as much as American actors love playing cowboys, and it’s always nice to see people having fun.