Sunday, October 9, 2011


By s. Sunday, October 9, 2011 , , , , , , ,
(115 min, 2005)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writers: Luc Besson (adaptation), Guy Ritchie
Stars: Jason Statham, Ray Liotta and Vincent Pastore

Well, fuck me, Guy. What have you been reading?

After seven years in solitary, Jake Green (Jason Statham) is released from prison. In the next two years, he amasses a lot of money by gambling. He's ready to seek his revenge on Dorothy (Mr. D) Macha (Ray Liotta), a violence-prone casino owner who sent Jake to prison. He humiliates Macha in front of Macha's lieutenants, leaves, and keels over. Doctors tell him he has a rare disease and will die in three days; Macha also puts a hit out on him.
After you see this movie you're gonna experience two things – headache and a feeling you saw wonderfully directed mess. After you read a little bit about the movie, you're still gonna have a headache and you'll discover something which will make it worse – there is no key, which is guaranteed to work, to unlock the secrets of this movie.

Apparently, to understand the plot you have to have rather wide knowledge about enlightenment and Buddhism. I have neither of those, because I don't particularly care. Don't get me wrong – I think every religion is interesting and I love reading about them but I hate when a movie, a separate art form, requires me to read books to understand it. I read “if you don't understand the movie don't worry, just read few books about Buddhism” in the opinions of people who actually got the movie. Well, I neither have the time nor “Revolver” is interesting enough for me to dwell in the religion and books to look for meanings. If I wanted to read a book about religion, It'd be a book about my religion. So apparently, Guy Ritchie made his movie for a very small number of people comparing to all the movie goers there are, and everyone else may be in pain during this spectacle.

The film is insanely confusing and way too abstract to understand, or even to dissect and try to understand. Because of that it's not very watchable, it's boring and tiring. By 1h mark you will feel like at least three hours have passed since the beginning of this movie. And it would be ok, if the writer gave us enough clues to understand the whole thing. But he didn't. With a masterpiece like “Mulholland Drive” Lynch gave us all the pieces and 10 clues of how we should put them together. With “Revolver” Ritchie shot some scenes, put them together in one movie and, from what I gathered, expected us to “read few books”.

Because as much as I understand the battle between Jake and Sam Gold, I don't understand the purpose for many things in the film. What was real? What was not real? Was anything real at all? Why the animated scenes? Why the Chinese gang? Why is the movie titled “Revolver”? I'm even confused about Statham's hair in this, which was constantly distracting me from the movie – Ritchie and Statham in rather amusing tone said it was real, but it obviously wasn't. And why did he have to have hair here? Was it relevant? What in this movie was relevant? And was it necessary to, in a painfully pretentious move, show us the same famous quotes over and over again? Again, I felt as if the director banged my head against the wall..Surely, you see how his movie can induce headache.

There are some pluses to the movie, even if you won't like or understand it – Mark Strong as one of the more interesting assassins in recent memory, very good performance by Jason Statham – especially the elevator scene, great music and stylish, elegant directing from Ritchie – some of the scenes, for example restaurant shootout are incredible and woke me up from lethargy the movie put me into.

Except for Statham and Strong, who are frequent members of Ritchie's cast, everyone else is atrocious. I don't know what Ritchie gets out of casting rappers but André Benjamin is so terrible that it's hard to believe Ritchie was fully conscious when he hired him. It's a good thing I like Jason so much, because truthfully I think Benjamin is even bigger problem than the grand state of confusion the movie gives to the viewer and when I read someone stopped watching “revolver” 'cause he couldn't take it anymore, I understand. Ray Liotta is awful. He may be the only person who sank lower than Nicolas Cage.

As if Buddhism symbolism was not enough, there is more - allusions to 3 days, which I can only imagine Ritchie borrowed from the closest thing – Christianity, and apparently, given that Madonna was still his wife during making of this movie – a number of things inspired by Kaballah. My knowledge about this one is actually a little bigger than about the whole idea of “enlightenment” but it still doesn't help. Even when I know the basics I have no clue how to apply them to the movie, because it still results in gigantic plot holes appearing everywhere.

All in all, the movie is worth watching because it is very well made. But it's too confusingly written to make a sense out of it. However, it has great cinematography, some fantastic individual scenes and very nice performances from Statham and Strong. Is it a movie for Ritchie's fans? I have to say no. If I recommended this movie to the people that saw “Snatch”, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Sherlock Holmes” because of me, they would be massively disappointed because when you hear “Guy Ritchie” you expect entertainment. This movie is many things, but it certainly is not entertainment. It's an exercise for the mind, but only if you are familiar with the things that director used as inspiration. What those things are? Yet another question without answer. It's a damn shame, because the good director was there, the idea was there, but the screenplay and the casting killed the potential. I had a feeling I was watching longer version of “Kansas City Shuffle” trick from “Lucky Number Slevin”. And it was not a good feeling.


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