Writer-director Guy Ritchie dives into the depths of the London underworld again and comes up with "RocknRolla,” another audacious crime comedy in the "Snatch” tradition that is brutally funny for its first 90 minutes before sinking under the weight of its own violent and profane excesses.
With property values soaring and a building boom rapidly changing the skyline of the U.K. capital, drugs take a backseat to real estate in the world of criminal commerce, and everyone wants a piece of the turf. Old-school crime boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) is no exception. Shady Russian billionaire Uri Obomavich (Karel Roden) is eager to acquire some prime London riverfront, and he needs Lenny’s political connections to grease the skids. Lenny is happy to oblige — for a price. Uri loans Lenny his "lucky painting” as a gesture of good faith and orders his accountant, the sexy and sophisticated Stella (Thandie Newton), to transfer the payoff to the mobster. But the clever Stella has ideas of her own, which lead her to a partnership with One Two (Gerard Butler), the de facto leader of the "Wild Bunch,” an up-and-coming crew of street-level hustlers. One Two and his best friend, Mumbles (Idris Elba), hijack the money from the Russian’s couriers. That’s hard luck for Lenny, but things get worse for him when the lucky painting is stolen by crack-addled punk-rock star Johnny Quid (Toby Kibbell), who’s been missing and presumed dead until now. Uri wants his art and his money back, not necessarily in that order.
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"RocknRolla”R1:542½ stars Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy. (Pervasive language, violence, drug use and brief sexuality)