Fair enough, it is not exactly ground breaking stuff- gangsters and drug abuse in the East end- but it has enough action to keep you awake and enough Â‘jumpyÂ’ moments to make you spill your popcorn ( I discovered this in row A, seat 9).
Better still, Ritchie has rightly given the key role of OneTwo to Mr Gerard Butler, whose star just keeps on rising. Girls loved him as the impossibly romantic Gerry in P.S, I love you: Guys idolised him as the fearsome King Leonidas in 300. His CV shows that he can pretty much play any role that is asked of him, and he is very good here as a man caught up in the criminal underworld. His love interest is played by the improbably sexy Thandie Newton, a high flying accountant who inexplicably jeopardises her job to help the criminal ring (although to be honest thereÂ’s not much that I wouldnÂ’t do for Mr Butler either!) Tom Hardy, who gives a sweet performance as his best friend with a secret, ably assists OneTwo.
The eponymous RocknRolla is Johnnie Quidd, an ex public school boy gone bad, who has a penchant for spliffs, heavy metal and philosophical musings. Indeed, we are frequently Â‘treatedÂ’ to soliloquyÂ’s on what it takes to be a true RocknRolla ( not that I really caredÂ…) Quidd is a complex character with a somewhat split personality, who, thanks to his privileged background, can generally charm his way out of any sticky situation.
QuidÂ’s father is the films main Â‘baddieÂ’ (not that they are in short supply, but heÂ’s the only one who enjoys feeding people to crayfish. I know, lovely isnÂ’t he?) Having lost the Â“lucky paintingÂ” of an ice cool Russian businessman, he spends much of the film trying to get it back, along with his sidekick (Mark Strong- an ex Holloway student who is thus, very cool). Together, they will stop at nothing.
The filmÂ’s heavy topic means that it is not a film for everyone, and certainly not for the easily offended .Yet there are some very funny moments, including a botched car robbery and some Russian hit men who just will not die (ButlerÂ’s exasperation here is priceless, and well worth the admission price alone)..
But it is difficult to truly like any of the characters. Most are severely undeveloped, with Ritchie opting instead to focus solely on the title character, which, frankly, is annoying and should be sent to bed without supper.
RitchieÂ’s film may be self indulgent, but it was a darn sight better than Swept away. Ritchie seems to be improving. There may be hope yetÂ…