(2005) dir. Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie, who was not so long ago a buzzing director of fun, silly English crime cpaers, namely Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and his best film Snatch. (2000), had a promising career. Then he married Madonna. Then he cast Madonna in his re-make of Lina Wertmüller’s Swept Away (1974) with his own commercially feeble Swept Away (2002), and since then, he’s kind of disappeared creatively.
Ritchie is returning to his London baddies comedies this year with the coming RocknRolla (2008) hoping to bring him back on the scene. I don’t really know where Revolver fell in regards to a comeback, but I have to say, it certainly is pretty goldarn awful.
It’s almost parody. Jason Statham stars, with hair no less, but with a tightness of the mouth and performance to show an emotional range of -.000001. His acting task is made no easier by the script, written by Ritchie and to some extent from Luc Besson (who seems to have the Midas touch of turning things to crap these days). Almost every sentence that Statham speaks is a quotable nonsense straight out of a fortune cookie factory, “Your enemy is always where you least expect to find him.” It’s actually comical how stupid these things get. And the film is serious about them, using intertitles as quotes in the beginning, quoting Machiavelli and others with no real hint of irony.
And at the end, as the credits roll, we are shown a number of PhD’s and others, including Deepak Chopra, talking about the ego and the self. Like this film has an ounce of depth.
Ritchie does not fail at visual flair. Compositions and action happen in stylized, pleasing ways at times, along with some interesting parallel segments, showing two groups having the same conversation at the same time. It was kind of interesting.
Really, the worst thing is Jason Statham’s incessant voice over thinking device. Not only is what he says utter nonsense, it draws away from the film considerably. I was actually thinking the film might be decent without the voiceovers althogether, kind of like the brilliant Garfield Minus Garfield. Revolver minus voiceover.
Actually, it’s not a film worth rehabilitating. Let’s hope that Ritchie gets his groove back. Because I am still fond of Snatch.