Guy Ritchie has a lot to live up to. His forays into the gangster genre, invigorated British Cinema back to the heady heights of Get Carter. A mark of success is the countless imitations that followed (all who failed to emulate) in the wake of Lock Stock and Snatch. So what can you do next if you are to compete with your once protégé and cinematic son (Mathew Vaughan) whose Layer Cake firmly stole your spotlight as the guiding light in British Film Production?
Revolver is set in an introverted cityscape which is inhabited by a succession of broad genre stereotypes that goad and push our Antagonist through the plot. Mr. Green (Statham) has spent seven years in prison for a crime he did not commit, and wants revenge on his ex-boss Dorothy (Ray Liotta).
Mr. Green gets his revenge by winning big, early in the film, but of course this is a plot pre-cursor and we cue two mysterious gangsters, Zach (Vincent Pastore) and Avi (André Benjamin).On top of his troubles, Mr. Green discovers he only has three days to live, and he must find out who his real enemies are.
We are asked to consider who is conning who, and which character is in control of the game they are all playing.
Jason Statham is a realistic leading man, but he can’t do much with the pretensions in this self important script. The film tries it’s hand at experiential cinema, but takes one leap too far. Richie’s films worked so well in the past because of the realistic dialogue that he writes. which gives you a tongue in cheek glance at our characters. When you remove that humour, the characters no longer make sense.
He has tried to create a film which focuses on internal meanderings, rather than external interaction; sub-sequentially he is stepping into a type of cinema where he does not have the experience.
In an effort to explain this film, I am tempted to mention “Fight Club”, “The Usual Suspects”, and even to a certain extent “Seven” (Fincher’s influence is apparent), but I feel that this would be unfair on them, and give the reader a false impression. The reason these flicks were great is they managed to manipulate our perceptions with ingenious subtlety. Revolver flounders as it wears its multiple layers on screen. Ritchie tries to use visuals to explain internal thoughts, but it’s convoluted and in-appropriate for half of the time.
The flick has its good points as well, the action scenes are inventive and wonderfully shot, but these occur too far apart, and you find yourself hungry for them to continue.....
…..The film’s best performance (I hope he gets some recognition) sits with little known actor Mark Strong, whose previous TV roles are blown away by the best cinematic hit man I have ever seen. Surely a spin off film is needed (now that would be worth watching)
Guy Ritchie is obviously talented, but it seems his past career has been Swept Away once more. I hope he returns to form by staying away from his own scripts, and never again indulging in art for art’s sake.