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RocknRolla: It's Ova
September 9, 2008 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Peter Bradshaw pwns the new Guy Ritchie film. I mean, doing yet anotha stinka of a drama about the mee-lee-a of the ersatz London gangsta?
posted by mippy (68 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wonder if it hurt as much to write that as it did to read attempt to read it... I sure as hell hope so!

/ refuses to put extra "a"s on every other friggin' word!
posted by HuronBob at 8:55 AM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Mr Madonna gets to play robbers and robbers again. Ain't no-one seen his previous?. Mark Kermode hates it too.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 8:59 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what? I'm not going to make another Mark E. Smith joke here. Gone over quota.
posted by maudlin at 9:01 AM on September 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh, fucking blissa!

Could.not. resist.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:03 AM on September 9, 2008


My impression -- not terribly well-informed -- is that Guy Ritchie sucks. I just saw his Revolver, which is based on an intriguing mind-science premise that he obviously didn't understand.
posted by grobstein at 9:05 AM on September 9, 2008


Revolver sucked
posted by delmoi at 9:07 AM on September 9, 2008


He stuff post-Snatch (man I love Ritchie threads just for the turns of phrase) might suck, I don't know, but the anti-Ritchie crowd has been hating him since LS&2SB, and called Snatch a retread of the same, which it definitely was not.

Mind, after those two, I'd rather move on to Layer Cake/Limey territory for my dose of Brit gangsta, but that's just me.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:09 AM on September 9, 2008


Durn, try Gangster No. 1 - itsa cracka!
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 9:13 AM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


No discussion of top-flight British gangster flicks is complete without Sexy Beast and The Long Good Friday.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:17 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]



And Get Carter.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:21 AM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Peter Bradshaw is great, especially when he occasionally breaks down completely and writes a slightly insane review like this one, or his recent Hulk review.

Its also good fun to watch as he tries desperately not to say breathtaking in his reviews - "I literally forgot to breathe for a second or two", "It disabled my ability to breathe", "it is so pointless and irritating that after a while I literally found it difficult to breathe". Or perhaps he's just asthmatic
posted by dng at 9:22 AM on September 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


Sexy Beast. So disturbing.. sooo good. Sir Ben Kingsley looks so damned dangerous in some of those scenes and he's not doing anything...
posted by cavalier at 9:29 AM on September 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


Typical Bradshaw 'look how clever I am' review... I found it literally unreadable.

Far better was Kermond's review with the immortal put down.. "The Long Good Friday by Chaz and Dave". This of course made me want to see it... (Oh dear looks what's arrived on DVD today - 'Snatch' - it's research, honest, guvnor!)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:33 AM on September 9, 2008


There is very little better than the apoplexy Kermode drives himself into in the name of delivering a review of a bad film.
posted by mippy at 9:35 AM on September 9, 2008


Man, I rented the original Get Carter not too long ago, and maybe it's me, but it just seemed amazingly overrated. Like, a lot of what must have been shocking then just doesn't come through anymore, and Michael Caine's about the only interesting part.
posted by klangklangston at 9:41 AM on September 9, 2008


I like that Ritchie's returned to the only thing he's good at, because he's very good at it. I wouldn't mind watching Lock Stock Part 3, as the first two installments were great fun.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:45 AM on September 9, 2008


I'm betting the film is better than bradshaw's review.
posted by chunking express at 9:49 AM on September 9, 2008


Sexy Beast. So disturbing.. sooo good. Sir Ben Kingsley looks so damned dangerous in some of those scenes and he's not doing anything...

Quoted again for sheer pleasure, cavalier.
(One of the very few film characters that actually had me edging behind the sofa...)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:51 AM on September 9, 2008


I find that ever since Swept Away, Ritchie's work is less and less interesting to me. Despite this, I'll probably see RocknRolla if for no other reason I'm curious to seeing Gerard Butler as something goofier than Leonidas.
posted by quin at 9:53 AM on September 9, 2008


dng wrote: Peter Bradshaw is great, especially when he occasionally breaks down completely and writes a slightly insane review like this one, or his recent Hulk review.

The Hulk one had the advantage of being both readable and funny, though. This time he just added an 'a' to the end of every word.

Also, what's with the belated summary of the weekend's Guardian and Observer on MetaFilter today?
posted by jack_mo at 10:10 AM on September 9, 2008


Am I the only one who found Sexy Beast sad and laughable?

Having this supposedly dangerous person throw a tantrum every 5 minutes made him impossible to take seriously, and I felt like most of the movie was waiting for the inevitable to occur (which it did). That was really the only "uh-oh" moment for me in the whole thing.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:10 AM on September 9, 2008


Man, I rented the original Get Carter not too long ago, and maybe it's me, but it just seemed amazingly overrated.

Well, shit. I don't know what to tell you, except movies aren't Pokemon. You don't gotta catch `em all.
posted by Dr-Baa at 10:11 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Empire review (which is quite positive of RocknRolla) made one interesting point: Guy Ritchie doesn't give a fuck what anyone else thinks about his movies. He's not doing this for the money and I doubt he's in it for the art. He's just doing his own thing because he can. And God, I am envious of him but I can't quite get my hate on as his films still have some redeeming qualities that makes him a much more entertaining director than the Paul W.S. Andersons, Brett Ratners or McGs of this world.

With that in mind, I did and do enjoy Lock Stock and Snatch. The former will always have an extra-special place in my heart as that's the movie I went to see when I won a year's worth of free cinema from the newly opened cineplex in my hometown.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:49 AM on September 9, 2008


Having this supposedly dangerous person throw a tantrum every 5 minutes made him impossible to take seriously

When a sociopathic London mobster, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, throws a tantrum, I find myself glued to the seat not quite knowing when, not if, someone was going to get hurt. It's an absolutely awesome film and goddamnit I want Glazer to make more movies. (Yes, I loved Birth as well.)
posted by slimepuppy at 10:53 AM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is almost as good as John Crace's Digested Reads.
posted by blucevalo at 11:06 AM on September 9, 2008


Yeah, but slimepuppy, the ratio of tantrum to action is pretty huge. When you stalk about obviously holding your venom in check, that's scary. When you rant and rage again and again, you're not necessarily a dog without bite, but you're certainly proving that you bark a whole lot without anything actually happening.

Terence Stamp seems infinitely more dangerous in The Limey as a washed-up out of prison con than "Sir Ben" getting red in the face and shouting a lot.

But obviously, a lot of people agree with you.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:07 AM on September 9, 2008


Peter Bradshaw is great, especially when he occasionally breaks down completely and writes a slightly insane review like this one, or his recent Hulk review.

Great big writing. Thank you, mippy and dng
posted by humannaire at 11:08 AM on September 9, 2008


Durn Bronzefist: called Snatch a retread of the same, which it definitely was not.

Certainly not - it was utterly unique. It introduced completely new shades of character and plot to the genre of English hooligan mobster 'ain't-I-tuff-and-ain't-it-cool' edited-for-MTV films.

Every time I see one of these movies, I keep wanting Johnny to wander in and point out the meaninglessness of it all.
posted by koeselitz at 11:15 AM on September 9, 2008


When you stalk about obviously holding your venom in check, that's scary. When you rant and rage again and again, you're not necessarily a dog without bite,

I think you're missing the intent of his character by the director. All the other characters KNOW that he's a loose cannon, is always going off left and right and cannot be trusted to do anything sane ever. They know this about him before he arrives and it's the tension in the other characters as they try to anticipate what is going to be the one thing that makes Kingsley's character do what they know is going to happen, which is violence. So it's the tension of anticipation of violence and the futility of trying to predict and offset it that is so great in that movie and why Kingsley is so great. He does nothing to give you clues as to which tantrum is going to be the one that drives the rest of the movie.
posted by spicynuts at 11:17 AM on September 9, 2008


Durn Bronzefist: Terence Stamp seems infinitely more dangerous in The Limey as a washed-up out of prison con than "Sir Ben" getting red in the face and shouting a lot.

... true.
posted by koeselitz at 11:19 AM on September 9, 2008


"Am I the only one who found Sexy Beast sad and laughable?"

I wouldn't say the only one, but I'd doubt there's many of you.
posted by fullerine at 11:19 AM on September 9, 2008


Ian McShane is the scariest character in Sexy Beast
posted by dng at 11:24 AM on September 9, 2008


Guy Ritchie doesn't give a fuck what anyone else thinks about his movies

I don't think it's that he doesn't care, more that he's just very stupid indeed, yet thinks he's quite the thinker (a surprisingly common affliction amongst the exceptionally dim), so dismisses all criticism as people "not getting it".
posted by influx at 11:34 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, can we riff proper on The Limey now? JENNNYYYYYYYYYYYYY.
posted by cavalier at 11:35 AM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


brothers and sisters, come together! there's no need for argument. we can all agree that sexy beast and The Limey are BOTH awesome.
posted by shmegegge at 11:52 AM on September 9, 2008


Guy Ritchie doesn't give a fuck what anyone else thinks about his movies. He's not doing this for the money and I doubt he's in it for the art. He's just doing his own thing because he can.

This is absolutely true. He has traded in any stake he had in his own future and success for the easy comfort of being Mr. Madonna, so he knows that he's on easy street so long as keeps the Boss Lady happy. What stress he may have in his life no longer comes from making his movies, it comes from having to swallow that Kabbala bullshit in public so that the Boss Lady doesn't leave him to fend for himself. He's adopted the role of a house boy for the financial security. I believe, though I can't say why, that his movies will improve once they get divorced because then he'll have to worry about making good movies again, instead of just getting the hell out of Madonna's house for a couple months.
posted by shmegegge at 11:59 AM on September 9, 2008


The thing about The Limey is that the fantastic filmmaking covers an incredibly weak story with almost no dramatic tension. That it's still a fun movie is a testament to the talents involved, but its got a hollow center.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:07 PM on September 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


so he knows that he's on easy street so long as keeps the Boss Lady happy.

Sorry if I'm being dense - but what's all this sub-Jackie Collins "Boss Lady" stuff?
Why can't Guy Ritchie just have faltered creatively because, y'know, sometimes this happens?
What's up with the emasculated-soap-opera rationale?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:08 PM on September 9, 2008


I would guess it's because he had a hit with Lock Stock, and then an even bigger success with Snatch, both of which were sort of hard bitten action comedies, and then he met and married Madonna and his next piece of work was the awful romantic train-wreck that was Swept Away (which starred her), and that he hasn't really returned to the work he did best since then.

A lot of people have put the fact that once she entered the scene, things went down hill.
posted by quin at 12:20 PM on September 9, 2008


"Am I the only one who found Sexy Beast sad and laughable?"

I wouldn't say the only one, but I'd doubt there's many of you.


Well, "sad and laughable" didn't come to mind, but "incredibly disappointing" sure did, so I guess you can count myself and my wife as two more who thought it was a real drag. Kingsley got an awful lot of press for what amounted to hammering the same piano key over and over again as hard as he could.
posted by Skot at 12:31 PM on September 9, 2008


A lot of people have put the fact that once she entered the scene, things went down hill.

Oh I see.

(Thanks, quin. I thought Swept Away had been forgiven as the one-off equivalent of Barbra Streisand's risibly revolting love song album after her marriage, and that everyone had then sorrowfully decided Ritchie was always going to be a spluttered-out comet anyway. I didn't know Madonna was taking all the blame!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:41 PM on September 9, 2008


Yeah, I remember The Limey as being kind of entertaining, but the menace of Sexy Beast really stayed with me.
posted by Mister_A at 12:45 PM on September 9, 2008


jody, also for what it's worth i recall seeing ritchie and madonna on an interview together one time talking about their fake Kaballa thing and ritchie being noticeably uncomfortable trying to act like it's a legitimate deal, when he seemed not to believe it. Additionally, I've heard Madonna being referred to as the Boss Lady before, by people who have worked with her, and have long heard her being described as one of the most powerful people in the music industry. Any other implications or outright accusations in what I said are invented out of thin air by me because they seemed cool enough when I was typing. really, it shouldn't be taken all that seriously.
posted by shmegegge at 12:52 PM on September 9, 2008


Any other implications or outright accusations in what I said are invented out of thin air by me because they seemed cool enough when I was typing. really, it shouldn't be taken all that seriously.

To be fair to you shmegegge, yours is more plausible than Ritchie-was-always-a-damp-squib-so-there!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:04 PM on September 9, 2008


Oh, can we riff proper on The Limey now? JENNNYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

LOL.

it's the tension in the other characters as they try to anticipate what is going to be the one thing that makes Kingsley's character do what they know is going to happen, which is violence.

I got the device. I mean, the filmmaker bashed me over the head with it, much like I was egging the characters on to do to Sir Ben. But this was no more effective for me than having a filmmaker show a character's genius by having all the other characters stand around in awe at some of the mediocre things he has the protagonist say. It fell flat. Honestly, until now, I'd assumed this was a cultural thing, and in some far off land, it was common fact that shouting like a four year old indicates a very dangerous person indeed.

The thing about The Limey is that the fantastic filmmaking covers an incredibly weak story with almost no dramatic tension.

And nothing "happened" in Glengarry Glen Ross. I'm not disagreeing with you, but some of the most powerful films have a very simple storyline. In fact, I'd argue that the more cluttered a film becomes with plot (beyond a certain point), the less a sense of power it can easily sustain.

But since we're on this genre, can anyone explain to me how a sequel to Layer Cake won't completely ruin the ending of the first?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:09 PM on September 9, 2008


And nothing "happened" in Glengarry Glen Ross.

Nothing happened in Glengarry Glen Ross? Fuck you, that's what happened in Glengarry Glen Ross. You know why, mister? 'Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove an eighty thousand dollar BMW. *That's* what happened in Glengarry Glen Ross. You see this watch? That watch costs more than your car. Glengarry Glen Ross made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's what happened in Glengarry Glen Ross, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna know what happened in Glengarry Glen Ross? - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get watching Glengarry Glen Ross? You don't like it, leave.
posted by shmegegge at 1:16 PM on September 9, 2008 [11 favorites]


Comments are for closers, shmegegge.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:18 PM on September 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh. Just one more note and then I'll bugger off.

I like Ebert's final thought on the characters of Sexy Beast:

These are hard men. They could have the Sopranos for dinner, throw up and have them again.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:59 PM on September 9, 2008


These are hard men. They could have the Sopranos for dinner, throw up and have them again.

Your quote just gave me a satisfied belch.
thanks.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:14 PM on September 9, 2008


Man, I rented the original Get Carter not too long ago, and maybe it's me, but it just seemed amazingly overrated.

You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me it's a full time job. Now behave yourself.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:24 PM on September 9, 2008


But since we're on this genre, can anyone explain to me how a sequel to Layer Cake won't completely ruin the ending of the first?

If the writier J J Connolly ever gets around to finishing it, I think the idea is that there will be a sequel to the original novel (which differs from the film), then they'll make the film. I'd totally recommend the book btw as it's even better than the pretty good film. The latter I always thought was unfortunately, not helped by it's marketing, kind of dismissed as a Lock, Stock knock off.

Oh and though a good film I always thought that the Limey was a bit too over-stylized. Still... TELL 'IM I'M FACKIN' CAMIN'!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2008


The RocknRolla trailer looks like it'll be fun, and they had me at Thandie Newton. I'm not sure what Jeremy Piven's doing in it, though.

Brad Pitt's first appearance in Snatch is almost certainly the least glamourous in the history of the movies.

The vein in Ben Kingsley's forehead in Sexy Beast should've won Best Supporting Actor.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:32 PM on September 9, 2008


roflcopta
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:01 PM on September 9, 2008


This review was a pleasure to read. I found it highly entertaining and informative despite the subject: a film which I will probably never see by a director about whom I couldn't care less. Thanks for posting this.
posted by motty at 3:16 PM on September 9, 2008


spicynuts has it re: Ben Kingsley's character in Sexy Beast. Another scary, horrible thing about him is how he gets his jollies from inflicting mental torture on people. It's not always about brushing someone else's teeth with a monkey wrench.

You definitely wouldn't want to mess with The Cardinal
posted by panboi at 3:27 PM on September 9, 2008


Revolva had a special section added in which a psychologist tells you why the movie doesn't suck, it sucks that much.
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on September 9, 2008


No mention of In Bruges yet?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:58 PM on September 9, 2008


Wow, I bet some of you Wire-Loving-MeFites are going to have a hard time reconciling your love for Stringer Bell with your hate for this movie.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:59 PM on September 9, 2008


Wow, I bet some of you Wire-Loving-MeFites are going to have a hard time reconciling your love for Stringer Bell with your hate for this movie.

Probably not, because the odds are extraordinarily good that no one reading this will ever hear of or think about this movie ever again.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:16 PM on September 9, 2008


bradshaw on mama mia
funnier
posted by trulyscrumptious at 7:06 PM on September 9, 2008



Sexy Beast. So disturbing..

What was it about humanoid bunnies that year?
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:34 PM on September 9, 2008


I'm noticing some anti-Ritchie sentiment in this thread.
posted by Ritchie at 12:10 AM on September 10, 2008


To experience the full horror of Ritchie you really needed to have watched the Lock Stock television series... in which every single episode had exactly the same plot.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:47 AM on September 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


influx is right. Have a listen to the commentary for Revolver and see for yourself. Ritchie is dim. His big interview in Empire last month did little to dispel the notion
posted by minifigs at 2:00 AM on September 10, 2008


And nothing "happened" in Glengarry Glen Ross.

It is not a world of men, machine. It is not a world of men.
posted by spicynuts at 5:59 AM on September 10, 2008


The upside of these Ritchie flicks is that I can imagine my plumber or the contstruction guys across the street having these kinds of plans and dreams. It lessens the pain of knowing that they can't even do their trades and I will forever be surrounded with leaking pipes, roofs and faulty electrics if I can pretend they are planning a big heist that they will fuck up just as badly.

That and I can laugh at how soft and pleasant the gangsta accent is compared to what comes out of some of the mother's mouths in my area.
posted by srboisvert at 7:19 AM on September 10, 2008


when I first saw the title sequence I thought someone had spent too much time looking at stardust or motion theory output from two years ago. then I saw the strange sunglasses the title character is wearing and realized someone was desperately trying to replicate what hasn't worked since fincher managed to make ed norton seem cool. fight club, just in case we're not clear, came out in 1999.

but I do suggest you pay close attention to the trailer: it features the only fast cuts of the whole movie in the first three seconds. everything thereafter chugs along at less than a third of that pace. it sometimes feels as if an sleep-dreprived octogenarian has edited this schlock. if only the establishing shots were a bit more impressive, this might just qualify as a decent sightseeing tour.

I went to see it in london because it promised to be another 'snatch' (I dare not hope to see another work by him that comes close to 'lock, stock and two smoking barrel') and was bitterly disappointed. it's slow, predictable and boring. the cool guys aren't cool, the menacing ones aren't menacing, the wise aren't wise, the daring crime isn't a daring crime. there also isn't any fun involved unless you find clichee homophobia and slow dancing funny and if that's your brand of humor you might get better value for money out of sniffing glue behind a gas station. did I mention the bad guys are 'chechnian war criminals?' how original ritchie is.

that all the things you might have enjoyed in previous ritchie movies are missing is all the more frustrating as ritchie clearly tries very hard at replicating the success he had with earlier scripts. this film is at best en par with a second-rate british gangster film like 'the business' but don't take that as an endorsement. personally I'd be royally pissed had I not snuck into two other movies after seeing this one. gotta love multiplexes.
posted by krautland at 4:41 PM on September 15, 2008


Guy Richtoy
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:16 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


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