What's it mean to be a ‘RocknRolla'? Well, a RocknRolla is someone who wants everything. Not just a taste of the good life, a RocknRolla wants the lot. But if your stepdad is a London mob boss, being a RocknRolla can cause a whole heap of trouble. Throw into the mix a small underground group called the Wild Bunch, and the Russian Mafia and the London Underworld is about to get very messy – very messy indeed.
RocknRolla is written and directed by Guy Richie. It's fair to say that after a couple of disastrous films that sank deeper than the Titanic, this is Guy going back to the mockney gangster formula that made his name. When Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels hit the screens, it became an instant cult classic. Two years later, Snatch was even more popular. These rich character-based crime dramas have a style all of their own. There are always heaps of twists in the story, amazing camera work, powerful soundtrack, and masterfully woven with outrageous British humour.
Now, RocknRolla is all of those things and more. Guy Richie blasts all of his signature styles into this wild melting pot and as a piece of entertainment, it's great. Is it as good as Snatch? Maybe not. But, on its own merit, RocknRolla is a great return to form from a fantastic filmmaker. Packed full of amazing characters, tons of twists, outrageous dialogue, and set at such a pace that the audience is sent on one roller coaster of an experience.
As with most of Guy Richie's films, RocknRolla is jam-packed full of the best British acting talent available. In fact, all of the leading cast members are now some of the biggest names in Cinema. For instance, playing ‘The Wild Bunch' are Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy, and Idris Elba. Now you have to admit, that is an impressive line-up. Plus, each of them is absolutely brilliant and adds tons of energy to the script.
On top of that, Guy Richie has the acclaimed acting veteran Tom Wilkinson doing an incredible job as the London mob boss. Thandie Newton is perfect playing the femme fatale and Toby Kebbell is fantastic as the RocknRolla, Jonny Quid. But for me, it is the brilliant Mark Strong who really steals the show. He is easily the most underrated actor around but has built a great relationship with Guy Richie. His role in RocknRolla is the backbone of the film, he even narrates it.
It's fair to say, that these mockney gangster movies from Guy Richie are not everyone's cup of tea. If you don't like Lock Stock or Snatch then chances are you won't like RocknRolla. But, I must say, as a big fan of Guy Richie films I really enjoyed RocknRolla. For me, it's fast-paced, funny, and has some surprising twists. Almost two hours fly by and let's just say that it's a shame that a sequel was never followed up.