Directed by Guy Ritchie
Rival gangsters cross paths while searching for a priceless painting.
RocknRolla “marks a pulpy return to form” for Guy Ritchie, said Rafer Guzman in Newsday. In the 1990s, the English writer-director wowed Hollywood with a new form of crookedly funny crime fiction. But after Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, he seemed to lose his edge, making the mawkish Swept Away with his now-estranged wife, Madonna, and waxing philosophical in last year’s Revolver. The old Ritchie “returns with a vengeance” in this darkly humorous crime caper, said Kirk Honeycutt in The Hollywood Reporter. RocknRolla concerns a scam that entangles three rival gangsters: a small-time hustler looking to score big (Gerard Butler), his old-school crime boss (Tom Wilkinson), and the Russian mobster who set it up (Karel Roden). All of Ritchie’s trademark elements are present: vainglorious characters; “ingenious, obscenity-laced language”; and “double crosses that turn into triple crosses.” Yet Ritchie also makes the same old mistakes, said Joe Leydon in Variety. He never knows when to quit, and niceties such as a sensible plot take a back seat to his fast-paced, often-“cartoonish” style.