What do you have to do to get your career revoked in England, short of being Gary Glitter? After a box-office-catastrophic two-movie run, Guy Ritchie takes another mulligan and returns to “form”—though his tics and tricks have never added up to more than cockney-accented novelty mixed with 2 Days in the Valley dross. A new pack of capering yobs (some guy from 300, Ludacris), including a Pete Doherty–esque crackhead savant, run off with one another’s loot, their various storylines cut together and the scenes temporally shuffled with enough sleight-of-editing to keep up a semblance of kineticism. Brick-shithouse-built rough boys are given “unexpected colors” (something that, in productions of this nature, is entirely to be expected), such as a taste for Merchant-Ivory films. Digressive soliloquies casually linger on such ephemera as American crayfish and the semiotics of a pack of cigarettes, belying looming violence. Why should a movie so titled have one of the most indifferent soundtracks in recent memory? Because Ritchie is a pop tart at heart (see: wife), for whom “rock ‘n’ roll” has nothing to do with the weight of riffage, and everything to do with dandyish tailoring and pub-belligerent ‘tude. Sum total of scenes that deserved to stay in the final cut: Thandie Newton doing a little shimmying frug.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 8, 2008