I love Guy Ritchie’s British crime films, by which I mean Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I often got the sensation, watching those movies, that their hilariously convoluted narratives were concocted by some kind of diseased visionary, and that it was a film-making miracle that someone had managed to bottle lightning twice.
I don’t know that I could call what’s in RocknRolla‘s bottle lightning, exactly. It’s definitely bright, and somewhat erratic. Maybe a little more than a spark. But it’s not the same flash of brilliance that captioned Brad Pitt’s dialogue as “Pikey gibberish”. The movie was entertaining, but I was always able to keep the storyline and all the characters in my head, a luxury neither Snatch nor Lock, Stock afforded me. In fact, I felt like there was something quaint about a cast of characters who were always able to tell what was going on around them, all the time.
The ridiculously quirky characters are still in tact. You’ve got the uncomfortable homoerotic manlationship between One Two and Handsome Bob, the deliciously pretentious gutter-savant Johnny Quid, and the junkie street hustlers who refuse to sell you anything without first completing their pitch. These characters are all very much in sync with, say, Soap and his big fuck-off scary knives. Or Brick Top and his pigs.
The question is, then, does a Guy Ritchie film stand up without its tangled narrative? Well, it’s still a fun movie about crazy gangster people doing crazy gangster things… and speaking in crazy British accents while doing it. The ending bit teases a sequel, which I’m sure was more a gag than a lead-in… but I’d watch a sequel.
Especially if it includes pikeys.