Revolver

Andre Benjamin plays chess, looks smart, in 
Revolver.
Daniel Smith
Andre Benjamin plays chess, looks smart, in Revolver.

For any high-fivin' "Movies for Guys Who Like Movies" bros hoping for the Guy Ritchie of yore, Revolver disappoints. It's no return to rock, this, but rather Ritchie's soporific, proggy-conceptual Film of Ideas, with Vivaldi interludes, fussbudget set design, recurrent references to chess, and a hit man inexplicably got up as Tati's Mr. Hulot. Hobbling stateside after a raping from the U.K. press, Revolver's nothing if not eccentric; at times, I halfway admired the suicidal gambit of making such a gnomic self-actualization gangster pic. All the crime-saga tropes are accounted for—the ronin badass, feuding rival gangs, an invisible criminal overboss—but they do double-duty as allegorical points on the film's schematic layout. Jake Green (Jason Statham) is no sooner released from prison than he's back feuding with casino sleaze Dorothy (Ray Liotta, explosively deviant), but things swiftly go down the rabbit hole as he's indentured to and lectured by a mysterious duo of loan-shark gurus (Andre Benjamin and Vincent Pastore). The plot's hieroglyphic symbolism adds up, finally, to some kind of lesson about the Ego, a fact confirmed by a line-up of Ph.D.'s (and Deepak Chopra) who pop on-screen to tell you exactly that before the credits roll.

 
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