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Movies Review

RocknRolla

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RocknRolla
Released on Friday, Sep 5 2008

Director: Guy Ritchie
Screenwriters: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong
Running time: 114 mins
Certificate: 15

The early buzz was spot on - Guy Ritchie is indeed back to his old self on familiar hunting ground; RocknRolla is a visually stylish gangster flick with a muddled plot concerning the theft of an antique artefact, peppered with gross caricatures and scenes of a torturous nature.

When Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels emerged a decade ago, it served as an antidote to the posh rom-coms and period dramas that dominated the ailing British film industry at the time. RocknRolla feels very much like reheated leftovers that should have been binned.

The main essence of the plot revolves around the duplicitous dealings between old school crimelord Lenny (Tom Wilkinson) and a Russian property magnate Uri, who is basically an excuse to mock Roman Abramovic. The tediously-named gangster One Two (Gerard Butler) is caught in the middle of the pair and an ill-fated plan to exchange several million euros. That may sound simple enough, but an abundance of dull subplots ensures that the narrative is convoluted and lacking in focus.

The whole exercise seems like an excuse to wallow in a thuggish form of masculinity and construct quotable dialogue that will have impressionable youngsters spouting the lines in pubs in a bid to impress their peers. Frankly though, you'd appear cooler if you wore a Boyzone T-shirt, a sock-sandal combo and grew a Hitler moustache.

Apart from one impressive chase sequence towards the end, Ritchie's flashy camerawork serves no purpose and merely highlights that style generally doesn't compensate for a well-structured storyline. Nonetheless, he does manage to coax out appealing performances from the bulk of the cast despite the paper-thin characterisation. The dependable likes of Tom Wilkinson and Mark Strong ensure their scenes are always watchable, while Thandie Newton exudes a powerful yet sensuous nature as Uri's accountant Stella.

Sometimes in life, it's best to shun pale imitations and go back to the originals. Avoid RocknRolla, keep the Lock, Stock DVD in the cupboard and acquire by any means possible the superior British gangster film The Long Good Friday. Don't borrow Guy Ritchie's copy - it's probably worn out by now.

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