Director: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong & Tobey Kebbell
There are certain things in life that you can rely on. Guy Ritchie creating an excellent British gangster film is one of them.
Six years ago, following up on his critically acclaimed British films Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Guy Ritchie gave us a more mainstream, less gritty, yet still brilliant film in RocknRolla.
The film centres around head mobster Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson), who runs the underbelly of London with an iron fist, and a deal with a Russian mobster. Looking to profit off the deal in order to square their debts with Lenny is the Wild Bunch, consisting of One-Two (Gerard Butler), Mumbles (Idris Elba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy). Mixed into the pot is Lenny’s estranged, apparent dead step-son, rocker Johnny Quid (Tobey Kebbell), who inadvertently causes problems for everyone by stealing a painting.
Unsurprisingly RocknRolla follows the same intertwining narrative as Ritchie’s previous films, with characters constantly crossing paths and finally coming to a head in the films finale. It creates a story that is tightly knit and flows effortlessly.
Unlike the previous two instalments however, RocknRolla is less gritty, with the setting being in the upper echelon’s of wealthy London. It is a far cry from the pig farms, the gypsy caravan parks and old terraces. Don’t be put off by this though, as there is enough violence and cursing to fill the void.
Surprisingly, and whether intentional or not, Ritchie uses RocknRolla as a vehicle regarding the social behaviour of foreign people within Britain. Lenny struggles throughout the film to adapt to foreign workers, labelling them immigrants on numerous occasions. Ritchie cleverly uses Lenny to symbolise the older generation, unwilling to adapt and Archie, the new generation adapting to his surroundings.
RocknRolla has an all star British cast which could of worked against the film. Thankfully it does not, with the cast giving solid performances all round and sharing equal screen time. Tom Wilkinson, who has previous history as a antagonist, is a perfect fit for the mob boss Lenny Cole. Equally, Mark Strong as second in command Archie gives a fine performance, dominating when needed to. Gerard Butler, Idris Elba and Tom Hardy as the Wild Bunch all do a solid job, bouncing off each other and providing some laughs. Standing above the rest though is Tobey Kebbell as the drug addict rock star Johnny Quid. Kebbell Kebbell makes the role his, and is scarily convincing as a drug addict, stealing scenes from more experienced cast members.
Overall, RocknRolla is a great addition to the Guy Ritchie collection. RocknRolla is entertaining throughout, providing great and witty dialogue, excellent casting and a well rounded script.