It's been a little while since I've done one of these, so here's another film for you all to watch if you haven't already seen it.
The screen bustles with gangsters, vixens, double-crossers, drugs, cons, cute nicknames, tattooed villainy, "ladies of the pole" and a snitch who loves "Remains of the Day." Somehow, there's even room for Ludacris.
The Wild Bunch
There's also a pointed comment about Americans - American crayfish, actually, who are said to eat up everything around them and then devour each other. I don't know if Ritchie knows any Americans particularly well, but possibly there's some sort of message in there.
A snarly Tom Wilkinson hits the bulls-eye as Lenny, a vicious London crime boss ("There's no school like the old school, and I'm the fuckin' headmaster"). Before the credits are even finished, Lenny has swindled a less advanced criminal named One Two (an excellent Gerard Butler) on a deal to buy a building. He's also agreed to take a 7 million euro payoff from a Russian real estate lord in exchange for greasing a politician to get a development approved. As the bribe is being delivered to Lenny, though, it is stolen - by the same guy Lenny just cheated.
Also in the mix are a feline accountant (Thandie Newton) and Lenny's crack-smoking rock-star stepson (Toby Kebbell), who has died three times this year but still manages to be a nuisance. Every one of these characters, and then some (such as the rocker's managers, played by Jeremy Piven and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), wants to find a lucky painting - unseen by the audience - that serves the same purpose as the mysterious briefcase in "Pulp Fiction."
No need to mess about with plausibility, given the anarchic comic-book feel. Why would the Russian voluntarily give his prized painting to Lenny? And while it may be possible that two unarmed accountants would be given 7 million euros in cash to transport, but I refuse to believe they would be listening to "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" while doing so.
Things get even more febrile in a blistering good chase in which One Two marvels at the Rasputin-like indestructibility of two thugs trying to recover their boss' loot. There's also a very Tarantino scene in which
The Indestructibles threaten to get medieval on One Two's ass
*Warning; this scene contains Russians dancing in theeir underpants*
Yes, I've seen these men in their underwear. Many times.
Tarantino's tendency to get speechy, though, is largely avoided in favour of cockney playfulness that Ritchie finds irresistible: There's "He just needs a few hours with a right rotten tart and then he'll be in there like swimwear" and "All she got there was a hot bath and a cold razor" and "Think before you drink before you drive me mad."
Ritchie has a dry wit, too. I particularly loved this one: "Keep your receipts 'cause this ain't the Mafia."
This isn't by any means an arthouse movie, but it's a whole heap of fun