A single aspect of the otherwise bleh "RocknRolla" distinguishes writer-director Guy Ritchie's latest attempt
to take his mind off his home life as the soon-to-be-ex Mr. Madonna.
The aspect in question is Tom Wilkinson.
Terrific character actor, Wilkinson. He's played so many Americans the last few years, in "In the Bedroom" and
"Michael Clayton" and others, it's a pleasure to hear him wrap that silky voice of his around the role of Lenny
Cole, a high-living East End London lowlife.
He turns a tired archetype into a fresh creation. The rest of "RocknRolla" steals freely from Ritchie's "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch," glossy, cooler-than-thou crime sprees designed for a brutish laugh or two.
Gerard Butler is our alleged rooting interest, a petty crook named One Two who heads up a loose consortium of merry schemers nicknamed the Wild Bunch. A land-grab scheme having to do with pricey London real estate (pricey at the time of filming, anyway) leaves them in debt to Lenny (Wilkinson). Not for long, though. There are sniveling vicious Russians buying up everything in sight, and there is a precious painting, the whereabouts of which involves Lenny's drug-addled stepson (Toby Kebbell, so good in the recent "Control").
Ritchie, who shoots and cuts everything in "RocknRolla" like an ad for a particularly greasy brand of fragrance for men, delivers the beatings and killings in his trademark atmosphere of morally weightless flash. The film will have its defenders. I like my crime stories to say something more than "Cool way to torture somebody, eh?" and I'd rather rewatch Ritchie's remake of "Swept Away" starring the soon-to-be ex than have another go-around with these wiseguys, scheduled to return in a sequel.
MPAA rating: R (for pervasive language, violence, drug use and brief sexuality).
Running time: 1:54.
Starring: Gerard Butler (One Two); Tom Wilkinson (Lenny Cole); Thandie Newton (Stella); Mark Strong (Archy); Idris Elba (Mumbles); Tom Hardy (Handsome Bob); Jeremy Piven (Roman); Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (Mickey).
Written and directed by Guy Ritchie; photographed by David Higgs; edited by James Herbert; music by Steve Isles; production designed by Richard Bridgland; produced by Joel Silver, Susan Downey, Steve Clark-Hall and Ritchie. A Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Rocknrolla Movie Trailer
About the Movie "Rocknrolla"
From Guy Ritchie, the writer/director of the acclaimed films "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch," comes "RocknRolla," a story of sex, thugs and rock 'n roll.
The action comedy takes a dangerous ride into high crime and low life in contemporary London, where real estate has supplanted drugs as the biggest market, and criminals are its most enthusiastic entrepreneurs. But for anyone looking to get in - from small-time crook One Two (Gerard Butler) to shady Russian billionaire Uri Omovich (Karel Roden) - there's only one man to see: Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson).
A mobster from the old school, Lenny knows the right wheels to grease and has his hand on the throat of any bureaucrat, broker or gangster that matters. With one phone call, Lenny can make the red tape disappear. But as Lenny's right-hand man Archy (Mark Strong) tells him, London is ground zero for the changing times, with big-time mobsters from the East, hungry criminals from the streets, and everyone in-between, all vying to change the rules of commerce and crime.
With millions up for grabs, all of London's criminal underworld conspires, colludes and collides with one another in an effort to take their cut. But as high rollers and petty criminals alike jockey for dominance, the true prize of one multi-million-dollar deal will fall into the hands of a junkie rock star (Toby Kebbell) - Lenny's stepson, presumed dead but very much alive.
"RocknRolla" stars Gerard Butler ("300," "P.S. I Love You") as One Two, a street-smart hustler who tries to play both sides of the fence. Two-time Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson ("Michael Clayton," "In the Bedroom") stars as the ruthless head mobster, Lenny Cole, part of London's old crime regime, which is quickly losing ground to the wealthier foreign mob. Thandie Newton ("Crash," "The Pursuit of Happyness") stars as One Two's love interest, Stella, a smart and sexy accountant with ties to the underworld. Mark Strong ("Body of Lies") stars as Archy, Lenny Cole's right-hand man. Idris Elba ("The Reaping," "The Wire") plays Mumbles, One Two's partner in crime and best friend, and Tom Hardy ("Layer Cake") is Handsome Bob, another member of their crew. Toby Kebbell ("Control") plays missing and presumed dead British punk rock star Johnny Quid, and Jeremy Piven ("Entourage") and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges ("Crash") appear respectively as Roman and Mickey, two Americans trying to break into the music scene in London.
Guy Ritchie directed "RocknRolla" from his own screenplay. The film is produced by Joel Silver ("The Matrix," "Lethal Weapon" and "Die Hard" franchises), Susan Downey ("The Brave One"), Steve Clark-Hall ("Revolver") and Guy Ritchie. Steve Richards and Navid McIlhargey are the executive producers.
The behind-the-scenes creative team is led by director of photography David Higgs, production designer Richard Bridgland, costume designer Suzie Harman, and editor James Herbert. Steve Isles composed the score.
A Dark Castle Entertainment production, "RocknRolla" is being distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
About the Cast "Rocknrolla"
GERARD BUTLER (One Two)
GERARD BUTLER (One Two) has distinguished himself as a leading man on the stage and screen.
Butler starred as the Spartan King Leonidas in Zack Snyder's blockbuster actioner "300," which broke box office records in its opening weekend on its way to earning more than $450 million worldwide. He more recently starred in the romantic drama "P.S. I Love You," opposite Hilary Swank, and in the fantasy adventure "Nim's Island," with Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin.
Butler also stars in a wide range of upcoming projects, including the romantic comedy "The Ugly Truth," in which he stars opposite Katherine Heigl under the direction of Robert Luketic, and the thriller "Game," directed by Neveldine and Taylor.
Born in Scotland, Butler made his stage debut at the age of 12 in the musical "Oliver!" at Glasgow's famous Kings Theatre. As a young man, his dreams of acting were temporarily deterred and he went on to study law for seven years before returning to the stage in London. In 1996, he landed the lead role in the acclaimed stage production of "Trainspotting." He later starred on the London stage in such plays as "Snatch" and the Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams' "Suddenly Last Summer," opposite Rachel Weisz.
In 1997, Butler made his feature film debut in John Madden's award-winning drama "Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown," starring Judi Dench. His early film work also includes "Fast Food," "One More Kiss," the 1999 screen adaptation of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard," and "Harrison's Flowers."
In 2004, Butler won the coveted title role in the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom of the Opera." He also earned critical acclaim for his work opposite Emily Mortimer in the independent feature "Dear Frankie," which screened at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Butler's other film credits include "Beowulf & Grendel," "The Game of Their Lives," "Timeline," "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" and "Reign of Fire."
TOM WILKINSON (Lenny Cole)
TOM WILKINSON (Lenny Cole) is an award-winning actor of stage and screen. Wilkinson earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Tony Gilroy's 2007 drama "Michael Clayton," opposite George Clooney. His work in that film also brought him Golden Globe, BAFTA Award and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nominations, in addition to a London Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Wilkinson previously received a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his performance in Todd Field's drama "In the Bedroom," opposite Sissy Spacek. He also gained a BAFTA Award nomination, and won an Independent Spirit Award, a Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize and a New York Film Critics Circle Award for his role. Prior to that, Wilkinson won a BAFTA for his role in 1997's international box office sensation "The Full Monty," and garnered another BAFTA nomination the following year for his performance in the Oscar-winning Best Picture "Shakespeare in Love."
Also honored for his work on the small screen, Wilkinson most recently received dual Emmy nominations: for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for the role of James Baker in HBO's movie "Recount," and for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his portrayal of Benjamin Franklin in the epic HBO miniseries "John Adams." He had earlier garnered Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations for his courageous performance in HBO's 2003 film "Normal," opposite Jessica Lange, and BAFTA TV Award nominations for his roles in the British telefilm "Cold Enough for Snow" and the award-winning BBC miniseries "Martin Chuzzlewit."
Wilkinson's upcoming film work includes Bryan Singer's World War II-era drama "Valkyrie," with Tom Cruise; the drama "Duplicity," with Julia Roberts and Clive Owen under the direction of Tony Gilroy; and Malcolm Venville's "44-Inch Chest," with Ian McShane and John Hurt. His additional film credits include "Dedication," with Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore; Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream," with Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor; Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins"; "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," with Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey; "The Last Kiss," starring Zach Braff; "Stage Beauty," with Billy Crudup; "Wilde"; "The Governess," opposite Minnie Driver; Ang Lee's "Sense and Sensibility"; "Smilla's Sense of Snow"; Gillian Armstrong's "Oscar and Lucinda"; "Ride with the Devil"; "The Importance of Being Earnest"; "Girl with a Pearl Earring," starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth; Roland Emmerich's "The Patriot"; "A Good Woman"; "Ripley Under Ground"; "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"; and "Separate Lies," with Emily Watson and Rupert Everett. His other notable television credits include such longform projects as the HBO movie "The Gathering Storm" and the BBC telefilm "Measure for Measure," to name only a few.
An accomplished stage actor, Wilkinson has played the role of John Proctor in "The Crucible" at the Royal National Theatre; the title role in "King Lear" at the Royal Court; the role of Dr. Stockmann in the award-winning West End production of "Enemy of the People," with Vanessa Redgrave; a London Critics Circle Award-winning performance in "Ghosts"; and David Hare's production of "My Zinc Bed," with Julia Ormond.
THANDIE NEWTON (Stella)
THANDIE NEWTON (Stella) next stars in Oliver Stone's political biopic "W," in which she portrays Condoleezza Rice. She is currently filming the epic drama "2012," under the direction of Roland Emmerich.
Newton previously won a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the Oscar-winning Best Picture "Crash." In addition, she shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics Choice Award for Outstanding Cast Performance as part of the film's all-star ensemble cast. Newton more recently earned praise for her work in Gabriele Muccino's critically acclaimed box office hit "The Pursuit of Happyness," in which she played the estranged wife of Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith.
At age 16, while studying modern dance at the Arts Educational School, she won the lead role in the critically acclaimed 1990 coming-of-age film "Flirting," playing a Ugandan girl isolated in an Australian ladies academy who begins a romance with a teenage boy from a neighboring boarding school. After completing the film, Newton returned to England to continue her education, earning a B.A. with honors in anthropology at Cambridge University.
While pursuing her degree, Newton continued to act in feature films, working with several acclaimed directors. Her early credits included Neil Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire," starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt; James Ivory's biopic "Jefferson in Paris," in which she played Sally Hemings; Vondie Curtis Hall's comedy-drama "Gridlock'd," with Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth; and Bernardo Bertolucci's "Besieged."
In 1998, Newton received critical praise for her performance in the title role of Jonathan Demme's "Beloved," the film adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel, produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey. She later reunited with Demme to star opposite Mark Wahlberg in the 2002 contemporary romantic thriller "The Truth About Charlie," inspired by the 1963 classic "Charade." Newton's additional film credits include John Woo's action hit "Mission: Impossible II," opposite Tom Cruise, and the indie comedy "Run, Fat Boy, Run," directed by David Schwimmer.
On television, Newton had a recurring role on NBC's hit drama "ER," playing Noah Wyle's love interest, an African aid worker named Kem. The role marked Newton's American television debut.
Earlier this year, Newton visited Mali to bring attention to the work of international relief and development charity World Vision and their collaboration with Volvic. The program will provide over six billion litres of clean water to hundreds of thousands of people living in Africa. There, she met with people directly benefiting from the campaign and personally witnessed the difference a well can make in a community.
Gerard Butler & Thandie Newton in Rocknrolla
MARK STRONG (Archy)
MARK STRONG (Archy) next stars in the sci-fi actioner "Babylon A.D." He also stars in two films that will screen at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival: in addition to "RocknRolla," he stars in "Good," set in Germany during the rise of the Nazi party. Among his other upcoming films are Ridley Scott's dramatic thriller "Body of Lies," with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe; "The Young Victoria," opposite Emily Blunt; and Pete Travis' Apartheid drama, "Endgame."
His previous film credits include "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"; Matthew Vaughn's fantasy feature "Stardust"; Danny Boyle's sci-fi thriller "Sunshine"; "Scenes of a Sexual Nature"; Kevin Reynolds' "Tristan & Isolde"; Stephen Gaghan's "Syriana"; Roman Polanski's "Oliver Twist"; Guy Ritchie's "Revolver"; "It's All About Love"; "Heartlands"; the British film "Fever Pitch"; and "Captives."
Born in London, Strong first pursued a law degree in Germany before returning home to study English and Drama at Royal Holloway, University of London. He then attended the Bristol Old Vic, which led to an eight-year apprenticeship on the English stage. Dividing his early years between the theatre and TV, his first big break came when he won the role of Tosker Cox in the 1994 BBC2 miniseries "Our Friends in the North."
Strong has since become a familiar face on British television, earning a BAFTA TV Award nomination for Best Actor for his role in the 2004 BBC2 telefilm "The Long Firm." He also appeared as then-Inspector Larry Hall in ITV's "Prime Suspect 3" in 1993 and, ten years later, reprised the role of Detective Chief Superintendent Larry Hall in "Prime Suspect 6." His many additional television credits include "Sharpe's Mission"; ITV's presentation of Jane Austen's "Emma"; the BBC telefilms "Trust" and "Fields of Gold"; Channel 4's "Falling Apart"; the PBS miniseries "Anna Karenina"; "Low Winter Sun"; and the Pete Travis-directed projects "The Jury" and "Henry VII."
An accomplished stage actor, Strong has appeared in London's West End in such plays as Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman"; the debut of Patrick Marber's "Closer"; Kevin Spacey's production of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh"; David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow"; and the Sam Mendes-directed productions of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" and Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," earning an Olivier nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the latter. His stage work also includes "The Treatment" and "The Thickness of Skin" at the Royal Court Theatre; the Royal National Theatre productions of "Richard III," "King Lear," "Napoli Millionara," "Fuente Ovejuna," "Murmuring Judges," and "Johnny on the Spot"; as well as numerous repertory theatre productions.
IDRIS ELBA (Mumbles)
IDRIS ELBA (Mumbles) is perhaps best known for his role as the calculating de facto leader of a Baltimore drug empire in HBO's critically acclaimed original series "The Wire." In 2005, he received an Image Award nomination for his work on the show. Also for HBO, Elba starred in the movie "Sometimes in April," directed by Raoul Peck. Elba earned another Image Award nomination for his performance as a Hutu soldier who tries to save his Tutsi wife and family during the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Elba's recent feature film credits include Ridley Scott's "American Gangster," with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe; the hit horror thriller "28 Weeks Later..."; Stephen Hopkins' "The Reaping," with Hilary Swank; and the independent feature "Daddy's Little Girls," opposite Gabrielle Union under the direction of Tyler Perry; the holiday comedy "This Christmas"; and "Prom Night," a re-make of the 1980 horror classic. His other film credits include "The Gospel," for director Rob Hardy; "Buffalo Soldiers," with Joaquin Phoenix and Ed Harris; and "Beautiful Mother," with Catherine Deneuve. He has recently completed production on Jada Pinkett Smith's directorial debut "The Human Contract" and the thriller "Obsessed," opposite Beyonce Knowles.
On television, Elba has guest starred on such series as "Law & Order" and "CSI: Miami," and starred in the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries "Ultraviolet." In his native England, he starred in the Channel 4 telefilm "All in the Game," and earlier guest starred on a number of series, including the BBC's "Silent Witness" and "Dangerfield."
Elba has also worked on the stage, including leading roles in several plays produced in London's theatre scene. In New York he starred in Sir Peter Hall's off-Broadway production of "Troilus and Cressida," receiving rave reviews for his portrayal of Achilles.
TOM HARDY (Handsome Bob)
TOM HARDY (Handsome Bob) has been seen in a wide range of projects for film, television and the stage. His recent credits include "The Inheritance," Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette," and the acclaimed crime thriller "Layer Cake," starring Daniel Craig. He will next be seen in Mimi Leder's "The Code," with Morgan Freeman and Antonio Bandera, and he also stars in the title role of the Charles Bronson biopic "Bronson," being directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
Hardy's career began when he was plucked straight from the Drama Centre, London, for a role in the award-winning HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers," executive produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. He went on to roles in the features "Black Hawk Down," directed by Ridley Scott; the "Star Trek" feature "Star Trek: Nemesis," in which he played the lead villain, Praetor Shinzon; Paul McGuigan's "The Reckoning," alongside Willem Dafoe and Paul Bettany; and "Dot the I," by first time writer-director Matthew Parkhill.
On television, Hardy recently earned a BAFTA TV nomination for Best Actor for his performance in the HBO movie "Stuart: A Life Backwards." He is currently at work on the ITV production of "Wuthering Heights," in which he stars as Heathcliff. His television credits also include the telefilms "Oliver Twist," "A for Andromeda," "Sweeney Todd," "Gideon's Daughter," and "Colditz," as well as the BBC miniseries "The Virgin Queen," in which he starred as Robert Dudley.
Hardy has also starred in numerous plays in London's West End, including "Blood" and "In Arabia We'd All Be Kings," two productions for which he won the Outstanding Newcomer Award at the 2003 Evening Standard Theatre Awards. For the latter play, he was also nominated for a 2004 Olivier Award. In 2005, Hardy collaborated with Robert Delamere on Brett C. Leonard's "Roger and Vanessa" at the Latchmere. He currently runs (with Delamere) a theatre workshop/gym called Shotgun at London's Theatre 503, which is currently two productions into its career.
TOBY KEBBELL (Johnny)
TOBY KEBBELL (Johnny) recently starred in "Control," the dramatic biopic about Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, which premiered in the Director's Fortnight at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. For his portrayal of manager Rob Gretton, Kebbell won a British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for Best Supporting Actor and earned a nomination for a London Film Critics Circle Award. His previous film credits include Woody Allen's "Match Point," Oliver Stone's "Alexander," and Shane Meadows' "Dead Man's Shoes," for which he received a BIFA nomination for Most Promising Newcomer.
On British television, Kebbell was recently seen in the miniseries "The Commander - Windows of the Soul" and an episode of the BAFTA Award-winning BBC series "The Street." He includes among his other credits the "Macbeth" segment of the series "ShakespeaRe-Told."
Hailing from England, Kebbell has also performed on the London stage, most recently appearing in "Enemies" at the Almeida, under the direction of Michael Attenborough, and "Journey's End" at the Playhouse Theatre, directed by David Grindley. His earlier theatre work includes productions of the plays "Beautiful Thing," "United States" and "Romeo and Juliet."
JEREMY PIVEN (Roman)
JEREMY PIVEN (Roman) has recently received acting honors for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the slick, fast-talking super agent Ari Gold in the smash hit HBO original series "Entourage." For his work on the show, Piven won back-to-back Emmy Awards in 2006 and 2007 and just earned his fourth consecutive Emmy nomination. He has also garnered four consecutive Golden Globe nominations, taking home the award for Best Supporting Actor earlier this year. In addition, Piven has been honored by his peers with four Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, earning two for his individual performance on "Entourage," and two more as part of the series' ensemble cast.
Piven will next be seen starring in the feature film comedy "The Goods." He will also make his Broadway debut this fall in a revival of the David Mamet play "Speed-the-Plow." Piven was most recently seen on the big screen in director Peter Berg's political drama "The Kingdom," with Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner, and in Joe Carnahan's "Smokin' Aces," in which he starred opposite Andy Garcia and Ray Liotta.
Prior to "Entourage," Piven was already well known to audiences with roles in a wide range of film and television projects. He has been seen in more than 40 feature films, including Gary Fleder's "Runaway Jury"; Todd Phillips' hit comedy "Old School"; Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down"; Peter Chelsom's "Serendipity"; Brett Ratner's "Rush Hour 2" and "The Family Man"; Peter Berg's "Very Bad Things"; Cameron Crowe's "Singles"; and "The Player," for director Robert Altman. On television, Piven was a series regular on "Cupid" and "Ellen" and appeared numerous times on "The Larry Sanders Show." His credits also include the telefilm "Don King: Only in America."
Piven was born and raised in Chicago, where his parents founded the Piven Theatre Workshop. His father, Byrne, taught the likes of John and Joan Cusack, Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn. Piven is still very active with this theatre and returns to Chicago frequently to help keep his father's dream alive.
In 2004, Piven returned to his theater acting roots when he starred alongside Keri Russell and Andrew McCarthy in the off-Broadway hit "Fat Pig," by Neil LaBute. For his role, Piven received a Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Performance.
CHRIS "LUDACRIS" BRIDGES (Mickey)
CHRIS "LUDACRIS" BRIDGES (Mickey) earned the acclaim of both critics and audiences for his performance in the Oscar-winning Best Picture "Crash," also sharing in both Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critics' Choice Awards as part of the ensemble cast. In the following year, he co-starred in the breakout hit "Hustle & Flow" and shared a SAG Award nomination with the cast, for Best Ensemble. Bridges made his feature film acting debut in 2003 with the actioner "2 Fast 2 Furious."
Bridges' upcoming films include the action thriller "Max Payne," with Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, and the sci-fi thriller "Game," which reunites him with Gerard Butler.
On television, Bridges guest-starred in a special two-part episode of NBC's hit drama series "Law & Order: SVU." The critically acclaimed episode drew rave reviews and such a huge audience that his character was brought back the following season for the season finale episode.
In addition, Bridges is a Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum recording artist and one of the most recognized names in popular music today. His music has been featured in several movie and television soundtracks, including "ATL," "The Longest Yard," "Hitch," "Taxi," "Shark Tale," "You Got Served," "Hollywood Homicide," "2 Fast 2 Furious," "Cradle 2 the Grave," "Rush Hour 2," "The Fast and the Furious," "The Wire," and "One Tree Hill."
As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bridges is CEO of Disturbing Tha Peace Records, a label that is home to some of the top-selling artists in R&B and Hip Hop, and is founder of The Ludacris Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to connecting with young people and helping them build economic development within their local areas while strategically building alliances with nationally recognized charitable organizations (such as his work with National Teenage Runaway Switchboard and The Motion Picture & Television Fund).
Rocknrolla Movie Review Film Critic Michael Phillips Reviews Rocknrolla Rocknrolla Starring Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Jeremy Piven, Chris Ludacris Bridges
Rocknrolla Movie Review, Movie Trailer, Movie Production Notes, Synopsis, About the Movie, About the Cast