In London, a real-estate scam puts millions of pounds up for grabs, attracting some of the city's scrappiest tough guys and its more established underworld types, all of whom are looking to get rich quick. While the city's seasoned criminals vie for the cash, an unexpected player -- a drugged-out rock 'n' roller presumed to be dead but very much alive -- has a multi-million-dollar prize fall into...
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A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.
Lenny Cole, a London mob boss, puts the bite on all local real estate transactions. For substantial fees, he's helping Uri Omovich, a Russian developer. As a sign of good faith, Omovich loans Cole a valuable painting, promptly stolen off Cole's wall. While Cole's men, led by the dependable Archie, look for the canvas, three local petty criminals, the Wild Bunch, steal money from the Russian using inside information from his accountant, the lovely Stella. Meanwhile, a local drug-addled rocker, Johnny Quid, is reported drowned, and his connection to Cole is the key to unraveling the deceits and double crosses of life in the underworld. Written by
The club scene where "Rock and Roll Queen" plays was actually filmed at The Subways live show in Bournemouth. They had to play the song twice. See more »
During the flashback to Johnny's childhood, we can see a Nintendo 64 controller on top of the television and below a Sony Playstation. See more »
People ask the question... what's a RocknRolla? And I tell 'em - it's not about drums, drugs, and hospital drips, oh no. There's more there than that, my friend. We all like a bit of the good life - some the money, some the drugs, others the sex game, the glamour, or the fame. But a RocknRolla, oh, he's different. Why? Because a real RocknRolla wants the fucking lot.
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There is a scene in the closing credits: the complete scene of One Two dancing with Handsome Bob at the gay bar. See more »
Throughout his career, director Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock Stock and two Smokin' Barrels) has slowly gathered a cult-like following, ensuring that his movies, be they good or bad, will always earn a few dollars from loyal fans. With his 2006 release of Revolver, many of his avid followers found new 'stylistic' directors to drool over, the movie itself receiving mostly negative reviews as a majority of moviegoers claimed it to be 'all style and no substance'. His latest release, RocknRolla, shows Ritchie returning to his roots of gangster oriented, moronic villain centered, hit-man featuring fun. It's a welcome return.
RocknRolla is an ensemble piece, centering on many, many characters while remaining surprisingly capable of not focusing on any one member of the never-ending cast. Gerard Butler (300) plays a good-hearted crook for hire by the name of One-Two, a member in a group of 5 blood-to-bones friends, each of which doubles as a partner in crime. The main focus in the gangster-related circle of characters is Lenny Cole, a ruthless, old fashioned thug brought to life by Oscar-nominated Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton).
The movie truly begins 15 minutes or so after the rather unique opening credits, which in itself foreshadows Ritchie's stylistic thematic which circulates throughout the movie. The eclectically charged plot follows Lenny Cole and his cohorts as they meet and greet Uri, a seemingly reasonable Russian mobster, as the two speak real-estate business. Cole, a self-proclaimed "King of London", runs each and every aspect of London, and agrees to allow the Russians their building for a small sum of 7 million Euros. Agreeing, Uri offers Lenny his favourite painting as a token of appreciation, a hopeful symbol that all will go well.
From this point on, viewers are treated to a mishmash of confusing twists, an infinite pallet of characters, and some of the most intelligent writing to hit Hollywood in years. The afore-mentioned painting is stolen from Cole, and a search ensues throughout the entire movie, eventually leading to Johnny Quid (Jamie Campbell), the lead singer of The Quidlickers, and step-son to none other than Lenny himself. Quid, also known as "The Rocknrolla", represents a solid contrast to his devilish step-father. Providing monologue after brilliant monologue, Quid becomes a character of classic cool, embodying olden day suave with modern day style, a true to time Rocknrolla.
As with every one of Ritchie's gifts to the silver screen, the subtle yet slick script throws the few negative aspects of the movie to the backburner, leaving only pure gold to shimmer and shine. With a never ending stream of British mannerisms combined with over-seas terminology, North American viewers are faced with a rather tricky dilemma: Sit through a movie that may require a small amount of effort to comprehend due to it's foreign tendencies, or instead rely on Dicaprio and Mr. Crowe to deliver yet another bland, meaningless CIA centered action movie in the form of now premiering Body Of Lies. Unfortunately for the masses that truly enjoy a movie with an intelligent script, box office numbers generally speak poorly for Guy Ritchie's films on our side of the pond, his movies usually making no more than a few hundred thousand dollars, only to become cult hits once released on DVD.
Viewers may be shocked to see Gerard Butler (best known for his overly masculine performance as King Leonidas in 300) hidden amongst an amazing yet unknown cast, with each actor holding their own and providing more than authentic performances. It is a rare yet beautiful sight to behold, a cast full of actors that have not yet been granted the "fame" or spotlight, yet manage to upstage a majority of the actors that we are presented on a day to day basis. It is beyond sad, the least can be said, to see Chris Bridges A.K.A. Ludicrous (2 Fast 2 Furious) and Jeremey Pivens (Smokin' Aces) failing miserably in their attempt to act in brief yet important cameo performances, also singled out as the only two American actors in the film, their "talent" shadowed and overcast by the nobodies surrounding them.
To those readers out there who are contemplating seeing this not-quite-so-common piece of theatre in the form of British Cinema, it is best for you to know there are many worse things you can do. Director Guy Ritchie weaves an intricate quilt the likes of which hasn't been since his debut to theatres, managing to create a truly witty film from nothing more than a missing painting. Definitely a must see.
5 out of 5 stars
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