This is the end . . . beautiful friend . . .
The National Evil commented long ago on the eternal mystery that is Madonna’s enduring relevance, as well as the infuriating awfulness of Guy Ritchie’s first shot at a “return” to form, Revolver.
Yes, he imagined he was done with all things Guy Ritchie, because RockNRolla arrived in its lil’ red sleeve . . . and RockNRolla, in case you didn’t know, is supposed to be Ritchie’s “for real this time” return to form. Kooky cast of criminal characters careening in and out of each other’s lives, a McGuffin of sorts (a painting instead of Snatch’s diamond), witty dialogue . . . ya know, Guy Ritchie shit.
Er, nope. RockNRolla, while not Revolver-bad, is still pretty awful. Inside of an hour, Evil wanted to see a piano fall on the head of each and every actor and be done with it. Never has he seen a less charismatic or interesting lot of characters hurled onscreen. The notion that anyone would care what happened to any of them, frankly, offends the intellect.
One cannot number this movie’s sins. But we’re going to try anyway.
1. Complete waste of Idris Elba, the brilliant actor who played Evil’s favorite character (Stringer Bell) on his favorite show (The Wire).
2. Ludicrously convoluted plot revolving around . . . wait for it . . . REAL ESTATE SCAMMING! Why not, say, an emerald?
3. The main heavy is essentially the same character—spouting essentially the same lines—as Brick Top in Snatch. He just has better teeth.
4. And most of all—worst of all—we have the ending: our “RockNRolla,” a crackhead lead singer named Johnny for whom we are supposed to feel some sort of sympathy—proclaims his intention to quit the music biz and become a gangsta . . . “A real RockNRolla.” And then—then!—we see this message: “Johnny and the Wild Bunch will return in The Real RockNRolla.”
Holy shit! It’s true (Wikipedia says so): Ritchie intends this to be the first movie in a fucking trilogy! Starring the crackhead rocker, the most irritating character in the flick! (And that’s saying something.)
Imagine finishing The Godfather and reading this message: “Fredo will return in The Godfather, Part II.”
FREDO—what the—? you’d blurt. As did the Evil regarding RockNRolla. Apparently Guy thinks anyone would want to follow the further misadventures of this gang. Oy.
Appearances to the contrary, Evil doesn’t enjoy slagging Ritchie. Snatch is one of Evil’s all-time favorite flicks. (See? See?) But that’s what impels the Evil to slag the man. What happened to him?
This post was intended as a snarky shot at Madonna and the possibility that she is a talent vampire as explanation for Ritchie’s demise. Then Evil concocted a better theory. While Ritchie has been crapping the creative bed these last nine years since Snatch, his producer, Matthew Vaughn, has directed the true heir to the Lock, Stock/Snatch tradtion: the excellent Layer Cake. Is it possible Vaughn was really the brains behind the operation? Or at least the fun?
Because that’s what’s missing from both Revolver and RockNRolla. The fun. There’s the witty (or wannabe witty, at least) dialogue, the innovative camera work, the motley cast of rogues . . . but there’s no joy.
Maybe instead of waiting impatiently for Ritchie to get his mojo back, we should realize that maybe he never had it. And wait instead for the next movie by the one who did.
Did anyone, um, actually enjoy either Revolver or RockNRolla? If so, defend your moral failure!