A Solid Return to Form, 10 September 2008
Author: gary-444 from United Kingdom
Director Guy Ritchie is quite good at making London gangster films and this certainly bears favourable comparison with his two previous efforts, “Lock, Stock etc”, and “Snatch”. Featuring multiple characters, a plot that thinks it is more complicated than it is,entertaining banter, and some “biff, bang, wallop” violence, it offers more than enough for its core audience.
The ending is more wrap up than conclusion, and the proliferation of characters gives precious little time for them to “breathe” individually. Perversely at 114 minutes the running time stays just within its welcome, suggesting that the story itself could have been sharpened up.Bent accountant, Stella, played by the sassy Thandie Newton is wonderful and deserves more space.Whilst Ticket Tout Mr Big, Nonso Anozie, fresh from his strong performance in “Cass” is strangely anaemic and unconvincing.
There is a strong homosexual thread running through the narrative offering much opportunity for humour. Ritchie’s treatment of the theme is pretty ambivalent with female characters largely absent.The sexy accountant is, naturally, laid by “one of the boys” whilst the only other female character of note is bedroom bait for a corrupt Councillor. It appears that Ritchie “doesn’t do relationships” in his films.
Although a return to form, Ritchie is curiously tentative in some parts of the film.The opening cash heist is preposterously inept, whilst the subsequent cash heist descends into comic book violence. It is almost as if Ritchie doesn’t know quite where to pitch it. Equally there is a brief gay sado – masochistic torture scene which is set up, but never “delivers”. Tarrantino would have milked it for much more explicit violence ( the cellar scene in Pulp Fiction), and humour.
The 25 year old “Long Good Friday” still stands as the modern London Gangster film to beat, and whilst failing in that tilt, still delivers a pretty good attempt at the title.Multi national London, bursting with foreign cash and schemers is still a rich seam of opportunity to work and the possible sequel would not be unwelcome.The absence of a bloodbath finish gives plenty of characters room for more in the next installment.