RocknRolla

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RocknRolla
Rocknrolla ver3.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Produced by Steve Clark-Hall
Susan Downey
Guy Ritchie
Joel Silver
Written by Guy Ritchie
Starring Gerard Butler
Tom Wilkinson
Thandie Newton
Mark Strong
Idris Elba
Tom Hardy
Toby Kebbell
Jeremy Piven
Chris Bridges
Music by Steve Isles
Cinematography David Higgs
Editing by James Herbert
Studio Dark Castle Entertainment
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • 5 September 2008 (2008-09-05)
Running time 114 minutes
Country United Kingdom
France
Language English, Russian
Budget $18,000,000[1]
Box office $25,739,015[2]

RocknRolla is a 2008 British crime film written and directed by Guy Ritchie, and starring Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, and Toby Kebbell. It was released on 5 September 2008 in the UK, hitting #1 in the UK box office in its first week of release.[3]

Plot[edit]

In London, the British mob boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) rules the growing real estate business using a corrupt Councillor (Jimi Mistry) for the bureaucratic services and his henchman Archy (Mark Strong) for the dirty work. A billionaire Russian businessman, Uri Omovich (Karel Roden), plans a crooked land deal, and London's crooks all want a piece of it. Other key players include the underhand accountant Stella (Thandie Newton) and ambitious small-time crook One-Two (Gerard Butler) leading a group called the "Wild Bunch" which includes Mumbles (Idris Elba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy).

Lenny charges Uri €7,000,000 for the crooked deal; Uri has his accountant Stella find funds. Uri lends his lucky painting to Lenny as a sign of friendship. Stella, however, double-crosses Uri and tips off the Wild Bunch to steal the money, while the painting is stolen from Lenny's wall by his junkie rocker stepson Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), who disappears. Lenny and Archy enlist his managers Mickey (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) and Roman (Jeremy Piven) to track down Johnny.

After Uri's money is stolen by the Wild Bunch a second time, his assistant Victor begins to suspect that it is Lenny who has been stealing the money and purposely keeping Uri's painting from him to resell it. This theory enrages Uri, who lures Lenny to a private golf game in order to break his leg, warning him to return his painting without delay.

Cookie (Matt King) happens to buy the painting from some crackheads who had just stolen it from Johnny's hideout. Cookie then gives the painting to One-Two who, in turn, offers the painting to Stella (after a sexual encounter) as a token of appreciation. After Stella leaves his flat, One-Two is surprised by Uri's henchmen but is rescued, and then kidnapped, by Archy and his goons who had come looking for Uri's money.

Uri wants to marry Stella who he has long admired. At Stella's house he proposes, but he spots the painting. Stella lies and says she has had it for years. Uri, enraged by this and realizing that Stella betrayed him, orders Victor to kill her.

Archy brings Johnny, the Wild Bunch, Mickey, and Roman to Lenny's warehouse, where Johnny provokes his crippled stepfather. Before Johnny can reveal a damning truth about Lenny in front of everyone, Lenny shoots him in the stomach. Lenny then orders Johnny executed. He demands that the Wild Bunch tell him where the money is. Handsome Bob calls out to Archy and offers the documents in his jacket pocket, confirming what Johnny had been about to reveal: that the "rat" in the ranks, codenamed "Sidney Shaw", was Lenny all along. Lenny arranged with the police to routinely throw many of his associates in prison for years at a time in order to secure his own freedom and sow fear among his gang. One-Two, Mumbles, and even Archy were among the people Lenny has ratted on over the years. Archy orders Lenny's men to free the Wild Bunch and has Lenny executed by drowning.

In the lift on their way to their deaths, Johnny graphically explains to Mickey and Roman that they will be executed, and the manner of their executions. His description unnerves the man who's to execute the three men, prompting him to make a move prematurely. Having also already anticipated this move, Johnny warns Mickey and Roman to intervene and kill their would-be executioner. Johnny shoots two more men waiting at the top of the lift. They overcome the last of the gangsters (with the help of the Wild Bunch) and escape.

Later, Archy picks up Johnny from rehab. Archy gives the painting to Johnny as a peace offering. Archy reveals to Johnny that obtaining the painting "cost a very wealthy Russian an arm and a leg". Johnny proclaims that, with his new-found freedom from addiction and his father, he will do what he could not before: "become a real RocknRolla".

Theme[edit]

There are three themes in RocknRolla which recur throughout the film and are familiar to Guy Ritchie audiences. The first involves the mix of urban decay and urban exploitation which is part and parcel for Guy Ritchie's portrayal of life in contemporary London. The second theme is the study of the rivalry and competition between gangs of varying size and power in London's underground and subculture. The third theme which recurs throughout the film to its conclusion is the study of a vast collection of ethnic and cultural paradigms and stereotypes along with their prejudices, large and small. These are enumerated through the many districts and suburbs of London at all levels of society, national and international, from the vastly super-rich and famous all the way down to the most lowly and desperate inhabitants of the city.

On 10 August 2013 the British news magazine The Economist summarized the difference between London's organized crime scene of the 1960s and 1970s in comparison to the 1990s and early 2000s of Guy Ritchie's time in its essay titled "Farewell to the Heist":[4] "For all the daring, in its cast of characters and casual violence the Great Train Robbery (of 1963) typified the organized crime that flourished in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s... That world ended in the 1970s and 1980s... Since then Britain's organized crime scene has diversified sharply. Whereas gangs were once extremely local--defined by their own territory--crime is now much more globalized... One visible change is the arrival of criminals with foreign origins." This foreign influence is a key theme recurring throughout Ritchie's portrayal in RocknRolla of present day corruption in contemporary London.

Cast[edit]

Members of the cast of the film at a screening at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

A scheduling conflict prevented director Guy Ritchie from casting actor Jason Statham, who had appeared in three of his previous films.[8]

Production[edit]

In May 2007, director Guy Ritchie announced the production of RocknRolla, a film with a similar theme to two of his previous films, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000). RocknRolla, written by Ritchie, was produced by Joel Silver's Dark Castle Entertainment, Ritchie's own company, Toff Guy Films, French company StudioCanal[9] and distributed by Warner Bros..[10] The following June, Ritchie hired the cast for RocknRolla, and filming began on location in London on 19 June 2007.[11] Two scenes were filmed at Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire; the opening scene on the grass tennis courts, and the round of golf which takes place on the 21st green with the impressive clubhouse in the background.[12]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Critical reaction to the film has been mixed, with 59% positive out of 134 reviews on the film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.[13] The website Metacritic, which compiles and then aggregates major film critics' reviews, gave the film a 53 out of 100, which is categorized as having mixed or average reviews.[14]

IGN gave the film a positive review with four out of five stars, saying "[Guy Ritchie is] hardly re-inventing the wheel with this movie, but RocknRolla is nonetheless a comedy thriller that is every bit as accomplished as his early work, and without doubt a witty, adrenalin-fuelled blast from start to finish."[15] Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, stating that "It never slows down enough to be really good, and never speeds up enough to be the Bourne Mortgage Crisis, but there's one thing for sure: British actors love playing gangsters as much as American actors love playing cowboys, and it's always nice to see people having fun."[16]

Box office[edit]

The film hit #1 at the UK box office in its first week of release.[3]

The film took a total gross of US$25,739,015 worldwide, compared to US$83,000,000 for Snatch, seeing a modest return on the film's US$18,000,000 budget.[2]

Soundtrack[edit]

RocknRolla
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 30 September 2008
Genre Rock, reggae, garage rock, funk, indie rock, hard rock, Latin, beat
Label Varese Sarabande
Guy Ritchie film soundtracks chronology
Revolver
(2005)
RocknRolla
(2008)
Sherlock Holmes
(2009)
United Kingdom edition
  1. "Dialogue Clip: People Ask the Question" - Mark Strong
  2. "I'm a Man" - Black Strobe
  3. "Have Love, Will Travel" - The Sonics
  4. "Dialogue Clip: No School Like the Old School" - Various Artists
  5. "Bankrobber" - The Clash
  6. "The Trip" - Kim Fowley
  7. "Dialogue Clip: Slap Him!" - Various Artists
  8. "Ruskies" - Steve Isles
  9. "Outlaw" - War
  10. "Waiting for a Train" - Flash and the Pan
  11. "Dialogue Clip: Junkies" - Various Artists
  12. "Rock & Roll Queen" - The Subways
  13. "The Gun" - Lou Reed
  14. "The Stomp" - The Hives
  15. "We Had Love" - The Scientists
  16. "Dialogue Clip: Sausage & Beans" - Various Artists
  17. "Mirror in the Bathroom" - The Beat
  18. "Funnel of Love" - Wanda Jackson
  19. "Such a Fool" - 22-20s
  20. "Dopilsya" - Ex-Sektor Gaza
  21. "Negra Leono" - Miguelito Valdés

Sequels[edit]

Newton revealed that Ritchie stated that he hopes to extend RocknRolla into a trilogy, in the event that the film receives enough positive attention.[17] At the end of the film there is a title card stating "Johnny, Archy and the Wild Bunch will be back in The Real RocknRolla". According to both the audio commentary and an interview with Ritchie, the second film has been written and is awaiting studio approval.[18]

In a 2011 interview, promoting Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, when asked about a possible RocknRolla sequel, Ritchie said "You know, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it! I’ve written a script, I think it’s a great script, and Joel (Silver) wants to pay for me to do it. But up until now we haven’t had the time to do it. It’s sitting there and we’d all like to do it, it’s just a question of when we’re going to fit it in. So we’ll wait and see." He also mentioned that as long as Warner Bros. keeps throwing him "big movies like the Sherlock Holmes films and The Man from UNCLE, then it may not be happening soon."[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ IMDb (1990–2012). "Box office / business for RocknRolla (2008)". IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "RocknRolla (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 6 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "UK Box Office: 5–7 September 2008". UK Film Council. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  4. ^ The Economist, "Farewell to the Heist," 10 August 2013, p50.
  5. ^ Dempster, Sarah (22 September 2007). "Tom Hardy tastes the hard life". The Times. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2007. 
  6. ^ O'Sullivan, Charlotte (2 January 2008). "Big in 2008". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2008. 
  7. ^ Maher, Kevin (19 January 2008). "Sweeney's fresh blood". The Times. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2008. 
  8. ^ Hellard, Peta (18 October 2007). "Hard luck story for Jason Statham". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2007. 
  9. ^ IMDb (1990–2012). "Company credits for RocknRolla (2008)". IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (14 May 2007). "Ritchie will rock caper pic". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 July 2007. 
  11. ^ "Five plugged in for Ritchie's 'RocknRolla'". The Hollywood Reporter. 26 June 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2007. 
  12. ^ "Movie History". Stoke Park. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "RocknRolla (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 August 2009. 
  14. ^ "RocknRolla Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 29 August 2009. 
  15. ^ Tilly, Chris (2 September 2008). "RocknRolla UK Review". IGN UK. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009.  4/5 stars
  16. ^ Ebert, Roger (29 October 2008). "RocknRolla Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009.  3/4 stars
  17. ^ Adler, Shawn (24 March 2008). "Breaking: Guy Ritchie Plans 'RocknRolla' Trilogy With Thandie Newton". MTV Movies Blog. Archived from the original on 29 August 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2008. 
  18. ^ a b Russ Fischer (15 December 2011). "Sequel Bits: Mark Neveldine Says ‘Crank 3′ Will Happen; Plus ‘RockNRolla,’ ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Incredibles’ Follow-up Talk". Slash Film. /FILM. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Tropic Thunder
Number-one DVDs of 2009 (UK)
8 February
Succeeded by
Taken