Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong, Thandie Newton, Tom Hardy, Toby Kebbell, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Jeremy Piven, Idris Elba, Karel Roden, Nonso Anozie, Jimi Mistry
Written by: Guy Ritchie
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, violence, drug use and brief sexuality
Running Time: 114
Date: 09/04/2008

RockNRolla (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Art Alecs

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

For his fifth feature film, Guy Ritchie happily ignores his previous twomisfires (Swept Away and Revolver) and goes back to what he does best,making dime-store, knockoff pulp thrillers. Like the very fun Snatch(2000), the new RockNRolla is an ensemble piece. It begins with veterangangster Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) -- though he would bristle at theword "gangster." He controls most of London, moving large amounts ofmoney as well as permits and legal papers to his advantage. A Russianthug, Uri (Karel Roden) appeals to him for help in building a newstadium, and Lenny charges him 7 million euros for his services.Meanwhile, Uri lets Lenny borrow a prized, "lucky" painting until thedeal is done. Unfortunately, someone steals it from Lenny's study. (Thepainting is an old-fashioned MacGuffin; we never see it, and everyonewants it.) Lenny's number one man, Archy (Mark Strong), is in charge ofgetting the painting back. It turns out that Lenny's stepson, a rockstar named Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), now has it. Johnny has beenreported dead and is living the life of a carefree junkie. Meanwhile, asexy, bored accountant, Stella (Thandie Newton), lets her sometimeboyfriend, known as "One Two" (Gerard Butler) know about the 7 million,and so he and his pals (Idris Elba and Tom Hardy) arrange to steal it.This makes Uri nervous, and he demands his painting back. And so itgoes. Jeremy Piven and Chris Bridges play Johnny Quid's Americanmanagers, and Jimi Mistry plays the crooked "Councillor." The film lacksthe rich flavor of Snatch, and some of the plot threads don't add up:one character, called "Tank" (Nonso Anozie) -- who likes to watch TheRemains of the Day -- shows up promising important information that goesunused. But overall, Ritchie keeps up the energy, clarity and speed, andat the very least Wilkinson gives a ferocious performance.

Also, get your "RockNRollascope" read at the official website.

DVD Details: The DVD from Warner Home Video comes with a commentary track, slightly more lively than usual thanks to the presence of actor Mark Strong, along with director Ritchie. Then we get a slick little featurette, a deleted scene and a bunch of trailers at startup. There's also a second disc with a digital version of the movie.

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