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Review byMatthew Turner4/09/2008

RocknRolla London Premiere

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 114 mins

Guy Ritchie makes a welcome return with this enjoyable, stylishly directed and smartly acted crime caper.

What's it all about?
After the twin disasters of Swept Away and Revolver, director Guy Ritchie wisely returns to Lock, Stock territory with RocknRolla, a multi-character thriller set in London's criminal underworld. Tom Wilkinson plays Lenny, an old school gangster who gets involved in a shady property deal with Abramovich-like Russian billionaire Uri (Karel Roden), only for Uri's priceless "lucky painting" to go missing while under Lenny's care.

On top of that, small-time crook One-Two (Gerard Butler) and his Wild Bunch of gambling buddies (Tom Hardy, Geoff Bell and Idris Elba) make things a whole lot worse for Lenny when Uri's slinky accountant Stella (Thandie Newton) persuades them to help her steal the cash from the impending property deal. Meanwhile, Lenny's right-hand man Archy (Mark Strong) mobilises the troops to find Uri's painting, unaware that it's been borrowed by Lenny's missing-presumed-dead junkie rock star stepson, Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell).

The Good
This is a welcome return to form for Guy Ritchie that reminds you what all the fuss was about in the first place. His stylish direction (using freeze-frames, voice-over, captions and snappy editing) expertly juggles the different characters and storylines until everything begins to fall into place for the final act.

The performances are excellent but the standout is Toby Kebbell, who steals the entire film with a terrific turn as Johnny, the RocknRolla of the title. It's also a testament to Ritchie's direction that he manages to get decent performances out of three of cinema's most irritating actors (Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy and Thandie Newton).

The Great
Ritchie orchestrates some superb sequences and the script has several laugh-out-loud moments, particularly when Kebbell's on screen. Here's hoping he gets to make his intended sequel (optimistically announced by the end credits).

Worth seeing?
RocknRolla is a return to form for Ritchie and an enjoyable, well made crime caper that should delight fans of Lock, Stock and Snatch. Recommended.

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Content updated: 20/09/2019 05:47

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