Guy Ritchie (1968) debuted with the Tarantino-esque crime farce of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998),
with a plot that is a manic whirlwind
accidents and almost a parody of the film noirs of the past
(but the shootouts are more reminiscent of the spaghetti westerns).
The story is narrated by Tom, whom we'll learn later is an assistant of
Eddie's father JD.
The film opens with buddies Bacon and Eddie stuff on street corners, being
chased away by cops.
Eddie has the reputation of being a master at poker.
Tom sells stolen goods to Nick the Greek.
And Soap is a chef, the only one of the four who makes a legal living.
Each of them saved 25,000 pounds so that Eddie can challenge a legendary
poker player, Harry, who only plays for a minimum of 100,000 pounds.
Harry has two violent men protecting his business:
a fat bouncer, bodycard and hitman called Barry the Baptist
and a debt collector called Chris, who always drives around with his little boy.
Eddie, Tom, Soap, and Bacon meet to count the money and Bacon shows Tom
to the thin walls of the apartment, they can overhear everything said by the
neighbors, so they learned that the neighbors are drug dealers, led by the
The cannabis is grown by four kids living in an isolated house:
Winston (the brain), Charles, Willie and J. One evening Willie comes home with
his girlfriend Gloria, who is so high that she's hardly conscious.
Meanwhile, Harry orders Barry to steal two precious collector shotguns and
Barry hires two thieves Gary and Dean, without telling them how valuable
the shotguns are.
The thieves perform the job while Eddie and friends are having a drink at
a Samoan pub from which they have just seen a man run out with his coat on fire.
Eddie plays cards with Harry and loses, not knowing that Harry has a camera
that Barry watches in another room and then sends electrical signals to a device
planted on Harry's leg, so that Harry knows Eddie's cards.
Harry wins and Eddie not only loses his 100,000 pounts but is left with a debt of 500,000 pounds, to be repaid in a week or Barry will cut off the fingers of
Eddie's hands and of his friends' hands.
Meanwhile, their neighbor Dog is torturing two men who owe him money until
they reveal where the money is hidden, and then Dog kills them.
One of his men, Plank, buys the cannabis from Charles' group, the cannabis
growers, and has learned
that they keep the cash in shoeboxes. Plank suggests to Dog that they rob them.
Eddie overhears from his room and talks his friends to steal the money after
Dog steals it from the cannabis growers. They need guns and ask Nick to get
them two guns.
Nick is selling drugs to Samoan pub's owner Rory, who seems to be a faggot but
is actually another ferocious mobster: the previous day Rory set a customer on fire (the man that Eddie and friends saw running out of the pub).
When the inept Gary and Dean deliver the guns to Barry, the two old shotguns
are missing: Gary and Dean sold them to Nick, thinking they are worth very
little, and Nick bought them because they were cheap, and delivers them to Tom.
Barry, furious, tells Gary and Dean to get the shotguns back.
Ironically, Tom and his friends are not pleased that Nick could only found
them such old and apparently useless shotguns.
Meanwhile, Chris the debt collector paid a visit to Eddie's father asking him to surrender his bar to Harry in order to pay Eddie's debt, but Harry sends him to hell.
Dog, Plank and their men set out to rob the cannabis grower.
Plank rings the bell just when the cannabis growers are counting their money,
so they have taken precautions and locked the gate.
Plank has to pull out the gun and aim it at J, who passes out.
Holding him hostage, the robbers lure the others out. All seems to go well
until Gloria wakes up, grabs the machine gun of one of the robbers and starts shooting until she runs out of bullets, killing one of them.
Dog's men load the money in their van, but they also have to take with them a
traffic warden who was about to give them a parking ticket.
Meanwhile, Eddie and friends are hiding in Dog's apartment, ready to ambush Dog when he returns with the loot.
All goes as planned: Eddie and friends easily overcome Dog's men and leave
with the loot, that consists in a lot of money and drugs. They also realize
that there is a traffic warden in the van.
Dog tries to figure out how the mysterious gang found out about his heist
and accidentally finds out about the thin wall (by smashing Plank's head into
it): Eddie and friends left the money there and went out to celebrate.
So Dog's men are waiting for Eddie's group in Eddie's apartment.
Meanwhile, it turns out that the cannabis growers work for Rory, and Rory
realizes that Nick came to sell him (on behalf of Eddie's group) the drugs that were stolen from the cannabis growers, and therefore thinks that Nick knows who the robbers were, and easily makes him confess where Eddie lives.
Rory's gang heads for Eddie's place where Dog's men are waiting for Eddie's group.
The two gangs engage in a massive shootout which results in many corpses, although both Dog and Rory survive.
In fact, Dog escapes from a window with the two collector's shotguns just when Chris is arriving to pressure
Eddie to pay his debt to Harry.
As Dog throws the bad with the money and the shotguns out of the window,
Chris picks them up and leaves.
Just then Gary and Dean arrive, looking to get their shotguns back from Nick,
and see Chris walk away with them. They start chasing Chris' car, and so does Dog after stopping a random car and ejecting the driver.
Rory and Winston (the only two survivors) leave the place with the drugs.
Finally Eddie and friends return to the place and find a lot of corpses and the loot gone: they are desperate again, unable to pay their debt in time.
Unbeknownst to them,
the loyal Chris delivers the bag of money and the shotguns to Harry, so Eddie's
debt is paid, and Harry got the shotguns that he wanted.
Chris walks out without the shotguns. Gary and Dean have followed him and walk
inside to get the guns from whoever has them, not knowing that this is Harry's place. Harris shoots Gary, Gary shoots Harris, and at the very last second,
before killing each other, Barry and Dean are surprised to see each other there,
unable in that split second to find an explanation.
Outside Chris walks back to his car but finds that Dog has taken his child hostage.
Dog demands the money but Chris takes him for a ride.
Meanwhile, Eddie and friends visit Harry after having learned that their debt has been paid, but, again, find a carnage instead: the corpses of Harry, Barry, Gary and Dean.
They also find the bag will of money and take it. And Tom also takes the shotguns.
Just when they are about to leave in their car, Chris crashes his car into
theirs in order to knock out Dog, and then kills him. Chris then checks the
car that he has hit and sees that they are all unconscious. He sees the bag of money and takes it, thinking that they just stole it from Harry.
Inside he finds Tom with the shotguns and Harry dead. Tom leaves with the shotguns and Chris keeps the bag of money.
Eddie and friends meet at the bar of Eddie's father. Tom confesses that he took the shotguns. Eddie realizes that the shotguns are dangerous because that
could incriminate them. Eddie, Bacon and Soap tell Tom to go and dump immediately the shotguns in a river. Tom drives away.
Chris walks in and tells the kids that he wants peace: he leaves them the bag and tells them that he took something for himself. The kids open the bag and find only a book inside, no money. But the book talks about the collector's shotguns
and how much they are worth. They frantically try to call Tom's cell phone to
stop him from dumping the precious shotguns. In the last scene Tom
throw the guns from a bridge but they get stuck in the bridge. As he climbs
acrobatically to grab them and definitely dispose of them, the cell phone rings.
The film ends without showing us what happens next.
Ritchie was married to Madonna between 2000 and 2008.
Swept Away (2002) is his worst film, a vehicle for his wife Madonna.
The esoteric horror and thriller
Revolver (2005) is not even two hours long, but the plot is so complex
and intense that it feels much longer. Ritchie employs a multitude of tricks
to create the sense of a psychological vertigo. We constantly hear the
protagonist's consciousness discussing what it is happening to him and
questioning everything, especially his own presumed infallibility at any game.
The protagonist keeps seeing fragments of the past few days, flashbacks that he is trying to make sense of, pieces of a puzzle that he is trying to solve.
The ending is implausible and could be meant just as imagined by the protagonist as he is progressively losing his mind. Literally, the whole film would
amount only to a moral education by two ex convicts of their ex pal in prison;
a test that is supposed to teach the protagonist to be himself;
except that dozens of people are tortured and murdered in the process.
Less literally, the film could be about the prison angels and the mobsters
fighting for the protagonist's soul, but that is far fetched.
It is more likely that Ritchie set in motion a fantastic mechanism, with
plenty of philosophical and existential depth, but didn't know how to end
The first half is grandiose, halfway between Ordon Welles and Martin Scorsese;
the second half disappoints.
On a rainy day Jake walks out of prison after seven years.
In a limo the rich mobster Dorothy, who is trying to get his hands on a casino, is informed by his right-hand man Paul that Jake is free.
Jake's voiceover informs us that Dorothy, known as Mr D, is the man who sent him to jail,
and Jake is determined to get his revenge.
Two years later Jake has gotten rich (we are not told how yet).
Accompanied by three goons, Jake
enters Mr D's casino and is immediately escorted to see Mr D.
Jake proves to Mr D the tricks that made him rich and then leaves with
a bag full of money. On the way out, a mysterious man hands Jake a business
card that simply advises him to take the elevator instead of the stairs, and seconds later Jake collapses on the stairs. The doctors can't explain what happened to his brain.
Meanwhile, Mr D, worrying that Jake could become a dangeorus rival, orders Paul to kill Jake.
Dismissed from the hospital, Jake drives home with two of his goons, while the third one, his brother Billy, drives elsewhere. Jakes sees
a card in front of his door that simply says "pick this up". As he bends to pick it up, someone starts shooting from the other side of the door, killing both his goons. Then the mysterious man shows up, armed with a gun, and helps him escape. The hitman, Sorter, who works for Mr D, had never failed a killing in his life and is convinced that someone tipped Jake about the ambush.
Meanwhile the mysterious man, Zach, drives Jake to see Avi,
a man who tells him that he has three days to live,
but claims to know a way to save his life if he's willing to give them
all the money he owns and to obey them through some unspecified ordeal.
Jake does not believe him and walks out, but the doctors tell him the same thing: his blood tests revelead a rare blood disease.
Jake delivers the cash to Avi and Zach. Avi explains that they are
loan sharks with a brutal reputation. Jake helps Avi and Zach deliver money to customers.
Zach then gets him a motel room for a month.
Meanwhile, Mr D is meeting with a strange woman, Lily, the
right-hand woman of mobster Sam, who grants him the privilege of an important cocaine deal.
Jake tells Avi about his seven years in solitary confinement. He quickly learned that the convicts to his right and to his left were communicating with each other via books borrowed and returned to the library. Jake was in the middle and able to intercept the books. He slowly learned an infallible trick to win at any game. The two geniuses (a chess master and a conman) had a plan to escape from prison and promised to take Jake with them, but then they disappeared leaving him behind. The prison guards could not figure out how they escaped.
When Jakes was released from prison, he found out that the two geniuses had robbed him of everything: somehow they had learned everything about him, even where he hid his money. But he used the trick learned from them to get rich (and become a threat to Mr D).
Back to the present, Jake witnesses Avi, Zach and their gang break into Mr D's
casino and steal his safe, which is full of Sam's cocaine.
Mr D, afraid that Sam will kill him, orders Paul to buy cocaine on the
market, and Paul can only find one dealer who has enough of it: a greedy
Chinese sociopath, Lord John.
The cocaine deal is supposed to happen in a hotel room. Avi, Zach and Jake enter
the room next to it and make a hole in the wall to inject sleeping gas into it.
When everybody is asleep, they wear gas masks and easily steal both the drugs and the money.
(This section is told partially in flashbacks and at the same time mocked in cartoons).
Avi keeps challenging Jake at chess but Jake keeps winning because he has the formula of infallibility. He only tells Jake some general principles of it.
Billy calls Jake to warn him: he has learned that Jake is in danger because Avi and Zach have interfered with the plans of the super-powerful Sam.
Jake witnesses Avi and Zach harassing two customers who are not able to
return the money that they borrowed. Avi, who claims to have killed the first
one, asks Jake to shoot the second one in the knee. Jake refuses and instead
points the gun at Avi. As Avi steps towards him, Jake pulls the trigger, but
the gun has no bullets. Avi knocks him unconscious. Jake wakes up in his motel
room. His brother Billy comes to take him to see a doctor because it's already
been three days and he's still doing well: the doctor apologizes for the previous diagnosis and tells him that he's not going to die any time soon.
As he is meditating about what is happening to him in a philosophical tone,
a car runs him over... but then the film rewinds slowly and restores him
intact. Minutes later he has to run for his life, chased by a whole gang
sent by Mr D.
The gang reports back to Mr D while he is having dinner in a fancy
restaurant. Mr D doesn't have time to get upset about the news of the
new failed attempt to kill Jake that someone tries to kill him (kill Mr D himself).
Luckily for Mr D, his own hitman Sorter shoots the shooter, who is one of
the waitresses. Sorter than walks calmly away through the kitchen.
Mr D's men jump around their boss to protect him. The waitress is still barely alive and tries to shoot him even while lying on the floor but Mr D grabs a gun and kills her. Outside Sorter sees someone drive away and shoots him dead:
he's Lord John's right-hand man.
(The scene makes sense only after a minute or so because the actions are shown in non-chronological order).
Mr D orders his men to take revenge on Lord John.
He is also convinced that Lord John stole Sam's cocaine.
Sorter, disguised as a technician, enters their club and kills Lord John
and many others. Paul captures and tortures the others to find out where
they hid Sam's cocaine.
Meanwhile, Jake is chatting with Avi on the roof of a high-rise building:
Jake is not speaking, just thinking, and Avi replies to his thoughts,
and at one point tells him that he (Avi) doesn't exist.
At the end of the conversation, Jake withdraws all his remaining money,
packs it in three big bags and brings it to a charity.
The following day all the newspapers report that Mr D has donated a fortune
to charity: an odd prank by Jake. Mr D decides to take the credit.
Paul reports to Mr D that all of Lord John's men implicated Jake before dying
under excruciating torture. Mr D, who is panicking that Sam may be losing
his patience, orders Paul to find Jake.
Paul finds Jake's brother Billy who has barely time to tell his
daughter to hide in the cupboard before Paul enters and starts torturing him.
Then they find his daughter and are about to kill her in front of him
when Sorter suddenly snaps and starts shooting all of his former pals,
exterminating the entire Mr D gang, starting with Paul.
Avi and Zach drive Jake back into Mr D's casino.
Jake enters Mr D's bedroom and wakes him up. Multiple voices are speaking in
Jake's head, who cannot decide what to do, whether to kill Mr D or surrender
to him. In the end he merely apologizes to Mr D and walks out, leaving
Mr D puzzled. Jake, who is afraid of elevators, takes the elevator down and
the elevator gets stuck between the 12th and the 14th floor, where the 13th floor should be (but there is no 13).
He schizophrenically argues with himself, a case of split personality.
When he finally thinks that he has regained control over himself, the elevator
moves again. But in reality he never entered the elevator.
Mr D walks out of his bedroom holding a gun and finds him standing right there.
Mr D begs Jake to fear him, but Jake doesn't bulge, and Mr D freaks out.
Jake smiles and walks past him, indifferent to the gun pointed at him.
The one who breaks down in tears is Mr D (reality or a figment of Jake's imagination?)
Jake is playing chess again with Avi. Avi is playing with his brain.
Jake realizes that Avi the chess master and Zach the con man are the convicts
that were in prison with him.
And this time Avi wins the chess game.
As the closing titles roll on the screen, we watch as real-world
psychologists discuss the ego.
"the three Eddies"
just before a big game, Macha loses his card man
Having no other options, Macha asks for help from Jake Green (Jason Statham), a card man with a good reputation underground. When Jake refuses, they harass Jake's brother Billy (Andrew Howard) and Billy's family to convince Jake to play. He succumbs and plays the game, which he ends up winning. The loser, a high roller named George, insults Jake's mother and Jake responds by shooting him in the foot, igniting a gunfight in which the game's money vanishes.
The police investigation is leading nowhere until Jake's name is mentioned and he is brought in for questioning. Taking precautionary measures, Macha sends the three Eddies to Billy's house where they threaten his niece. Billy's wife reacts poorly in the situation and is accidentally shot. Jake does not give Macha's name to the police, in order to protect Billy and his family, and is sentenced to prison.
RocknRolla (2008) is a Tarantino-style crime thriller with a sense of humor, even farcical at times, revolving around a stolen painting, a dead junkie who is alive, a gang of inept thieves and a femme fatale.
It's another visually engaging film, but one with a convoluted plot.
The young Johnny is a drug-addicted rocker.
The old Lenny, introduced by the voiceover of his right-hand man Archy, is a businessman who uses bribes and coercion to make lucrative real-estate deals. He claims that he "owns" London.
Two members of a gang,
One-Two and Mumbles, cannot get a bank loan due to their criminal records.
Lenny loans them the money but the city councillor denies the planning permit that they need. Hence Lenny gets the building and they owe him money (not sure how that is the case). Lenny makes a phone call to the
councillor and gets the planning permit approved.
Lenny feels no remorse that he took advantage of those kids because they are immigrants.
Later Lenny meets with a Russian billionaire, Yuri, and offers to help him with his illegal business in return for a huge sum of money.
They quickly reach an agreement. On the way out Yuri lends a "lucky painting" to
Lenny, a painting that he is emotionally attached to.
Archy warns in vain Lenny that the Russian is dangerous.
The money for Lenny has to be laundered in cash and that is the job of
Yuri's sexy 38-year-old accountant Stella, married to a homosexual lawyer, Bertie.
Archy's voiceover tells us that Stella is ready to betray her boss.
She meets with One-Two and offers him an easy job: she tells him how to rob
the two men who will be delivering the cash to Yuri.
Meanwhile, Archy and Lenny learn from the newspapers that Johnny is dead:
Johnny is (was) Lenny's stepson. Back home Lenny realizes that someone has stolen Yuri's painting from his office.
Lenny orders Archy to mobilize his men to find out who stole the painting.
One-Two and Mumbles rob the two men with Yuri's cash although in a rather
inept manner. One-Two then delivers Stella a bag with her cut of the heist.
Lenny is disappointed that Yuri cannot pay the bribe, and surprised that at
the same time Mumbles and One-Two can pay their debt.
One-Two and Mumbles are members of a gang called the "Wild Bunch". They know
that there is an informer among us because they all ended up in jail sooner
or later. Now it's Bob's turn, who is about to be sentenced for five years.
While they are alone, Bob reveals to One-Two that, despite his reputation of
being a womanizer, he is gay and is dreaming of having sex with One-Two himself.
One-Two is disgusted but then lets Bob have what he wants because he feels sorry
that Bob has to spend five years in jail starting the following day.
Yuri is in love with his accountant Stella, while his right-hand man Victor distrusts her.
Archy begins an investigation in the crime world to find out who stole the
painting. He starts with Tank, a big black who monitors all the sales of
precious stolen objects. Tank points him at two unfortunate fellows.
Lenny tortures them, threatening to throw them to ferocious crayfish.
They tell him that his stepson Johnny has the painting, which sounds credible because Johnny has the keys to enter his house and is a drug-addict constantly in need of cash. Lenny has always hated Johnny.
Johnny hides with his friend Peter, doing drugs nonstop.
Lenny visits Johnny's managers, who are surprised to hear that Johnny is still alive, and motivates them to find out where Johnny hides.
The following day One-Two learns that Bob has been acquitted and won't go to jail, and is angry that the night before he submitted to Bob's homosexual seduction out of compassion.
Yuri orders Stella to provide another round of cash for Lenny, and his right-man Victor this time hires two veteran Russian mercenaries. He also tells them to keep an eye on Stella.
And then Yuri asks Lenny to return the "lucky painting" because he wants his luck back. Now Lenny is under pressure to find the painting in a hurry.
Meanwhile, Stella invited One-Two to her husband's birthday party. It's an excuse to tell him about the new opportunity to steal Yuri's money.
At the same time gay Bob hooks up with Stella's gay husband Bertie, a lawyer who boasts that he can get Bob the name of the informer who has caused so much pain to the "Wild Bunch", and wants to be paid for the information.
That night Johnny and Pete gets beaten by a bouncer who doesn't want to let
two junkies into the nightclub. In retaliation, Johnny
brutally stabs the bouncer and beats him unconscious.
The managers learn that Cookie, a member of the "Wild Bunch", knows where Johnny is: they visit Cookie who tells them that Johnny has
realized that a rock star is worth more dead than alive.
Victor's Russian mercenaries pick up the new shipment of cash for Yuri and are attacked again by the "Wild Bunch", but this time the Russians don't give up, despite being wounded. We see what happened in a flashback while One-Two is meeting with Stella to deliver her bag of money: the Russians kept chasing One-Two, Mumbles and Bob, and didn't give up until they ran out of breath.
One-Two tells Stella that he won't do business with her anymore because it's too dangerous. What he doesn't see is that the two Russians are watching Stella and saw their meeting: they now know for sure that Stella is a traitor and follow One-Two to take their revenge.
But Yuri is now convinced that Lenny is behind the robberies: he invites Lenny to a golf course and has Victor break his legs with gold clubs. He wants his painting back right away.
Meanwhile, Bertie delivers a letter with the name of the informer to Bob,
while two junkies steal the painting from Johnny and then sell it to Cookie.
Cookie gives the painting to One-Two just when Stella is knocking at One-Two's door because she wants to have sex with him. After the sex, One-two gifts the painting to her.
When the managers find Johnny, it's too late.
One-Two is saved by Archy and his men, who, still looking for the painting,
breaks into his apartment while the Russians are torturing him.
Then Mumbles and Bob also show up at the same appartment, so Archy corrals all of them and at the same time the managers deliver Johnny to Archy.
Yuri ignores Victor's warnings and is ready to propose to Stella but then sees the painting, which Stella pretends has owned for years: Yuri orders Victor to kill her.
Archy drags the "Wild Bunch", Johnny and his managers to an unfinished building
to be interrogated by Lenny in person, who is now on a wheelchair.
Johnny teases Archy, whom he has known since he was a child, and then makes fun
of his stepfather Lenny when he calls him "poison".
Lenny loses his patience and shoots Johnny, wounding him, and then orders his men to execute him. Johnny and the managers are taken into an elevator while Lenny threatens to kill the trio of the "Wild Bunch" if they don't tell him where the painting is. To save his life, Bob gives Archy the letter received from Bertie with the name of the informer: Archy recognizes as a pseudonym often used by Lenny himself.
Meanwhile in the elevator Johnny tells the managers that they will all be killed because they can't leave witnesses alive. They disarm the goon and Johnny kills some more, but they would be captured again if the "Wild Bunch", just released by Archy, didn't show up in time. Archy tortures Lenny to death.
Some time later Johnny is released from a rehab clinic.
Archy welcomes him back with a special gift: the painting, which he got after
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows (2011)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015), a remake of a 1960 spy series.
King Arthur - Legend of the Sword (2017)
Ritchie also directed the live-action adaptation of the animated film Aladdin (2019).
The Gentlemen (2019)
Wrath of Man (2021) is
a remake of Nicolas Boukhrief's Le Convoyeur (2004).
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