TIFF Review: RocknRolla

By J.D. McNamara 2008-09-06 15:55:52discussion comments
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Hello everybody and welcome to CB’s coverage of the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival! I don’t know what it is about T.O. (it’s a nice city, honest!), but because nobody from CB wants to venture north of the border, I have once again emerged as your correspondent at TIFF ‘08.

Last year I saw 28 films over the course of 9 days, and a year later it only exists as a blur in my mind. This year, I decided I wanted to have a more enjoyable and relaxing experience, so I scaled my schedule down to 14 movies, with a few days of rest in between. However, since it wouldn’t feel right to start the festival off with a whimper, I had a full slate of films lined up for my first day, Let’s kick off my sophomore year at TIFF with the latest from Guy Ritchie:


Guy Ritchie’s recipe for RocknRolla: a dash of loud British rock N’ roll, a pound of seedy London criminals, two cloves of rich and crooked business men, a tablespoon of drug junkies, a pinch of sex and women, a smattering of violence, and did I mention the injections of really, really loud British rock N’ roll, just for extra flavor?

Simply put, the only way you won’t like RocknRolla is if you have a problem with noise. I still can’t get over the decibel level of the film. But that doesn’t mean it bothered me. RocknRolla is bold, violent, hilarious, and it’s just so damn fun to watch Ritchie ooze style and flare all over the streets of London. At the centre of the film we have The Wild Bunch: Mr. One-Two (Gerard Butler a.k.a. the new Jason Statham), Mumbles (Idris Elba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy). When the sexy but dangerous Stella (Thandie Newton) inadvertently gets the boys mixed up in the mega-dealings of crooked millionaires Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) and Uri (Karl Roden), shit really and truly hits the fan, and I mean hard. What follows is a furious head on collision of deceit, double-crossings, guns, fists, golf clubs, precious paintings, gay gangsters and to top it all off, crayfish?!? I mean come on, if you aren’t excited by that, then what are you excited by?

RocknRolla is Guy Ritchie’s most accomplished film to date, and it really surfaces in the fluidity of his presentation, his matured style, snappy script and perhaps most of all, the great performances he is able to pull from his ensemble cast. Ritchie portrays London at its grittiest and sexiest, inhabits it with characters as equally hilarious as they are frighteningly violent, and smashes the two together at break-neck speed. This combination is in a word, exhilarating, and RocknRolla is nothing short of the redefinition of an “in your face” film.


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