I, for one, am getting pretty tired of the whole Guy Ritchie British pseudo-gangster films. I've seen it all before…many times…and done better. I need this old dog to learn some new tricks. Though you can't really blame the guy for going back to this type of film as it is the only one that he's had success with.
London mob boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson – Valkyrie, Michael Clayton) controls all the real estate deals in the city or so he thinks. For a substantial fee he has entered into a deal to help Russian developer, Uri Omovich (Karel Roden – Mr. Bean's Holiday, The Bourne Supremacy), build a football stadium. To cement the deal Omovich gives Lenny his lucky painting. Unfortunately for Lenny his rock star junkie son, Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell – Match Point, Alexander), steals the painting to buy some drugs just before Omovich asks for it back.
Now Lenny has to get it back – quickly! It does not prove to be an easy task as Johnny has faked his own death and gone into hiding. Then the painting is stolen from Johnny by two junkies, who end up selling the painting to One Two's (Gerard Butler – 300, P.S., I Love You) men, The Wild Men – Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy – Marie Antoinette, Layer Cake), Cookie (Matt King – Inkheart) and Mumbles (Idris Elba – Prom Night, This Christmas). One Two then ends up giving it to the accountant a.k.a. Stella (Thandie Newton – Crash, The Pursuit of Happyness). The accountant happens to be an employee of Omovich's.
Lenny's man Archie (Mark Strong – Body of Lies, Stardust) sets off about town trying to find the painting before Omovich realizes it's gone missing.
By this point in his career we all know that Ritchie does not make real gangster movies, but rather mockeries of them. They are filled with slick talking gangsters, too cool for school soundtracks and plenty of over-the-top violence. This film is no different but its cheekiness has worn a little thin.
The good thing about his films is that they are light and don't pretend to have anything to say. Like most Ritchie films this one has plenty of likeable characters even though they are lowlifes or hoods. As it was in his previous films all the characters and their stories are somehow interwoven.
Despite the stellar cast of Wilkinson, Butler and Newton the film, like many of Ritchie's films, it will appeal to 15-year-old boys. Or feels like a 15-year-old boy wrote it. The plot is confusing as all get up. The humour does not happen frequent enough to save the film. The performances are strong, but the strength of the film ends there.
Time for Ritchie to learn another trick. And quickly!
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