“Dangerous combination, chess and cons,” muses Jake Green (Jason Statham) in Revolver. Guy Ritchie and cinema are another, as evidenced by this long-delayed catastrophe. Having perfected the art of British-accented Tarantino mimicry, Ritchie here takes a different course, pushing the gangster film into gobbledygook abstraction that, via some end-credit sound bites from supposed philosophers, eventually reveals itself to be a guns-and-nudity version of What the Bleep Do We Know!? I know, I know, such a concept sounds really awesome, and I haven’t even mentioned that, as a casino owner planning to stage a big drug deal, Ray Liotta spends a good chunk of his screen time standing in a UV light-drenched tanning room wearing nothing but skimpy spandex shorts that accentuate his bulge. Released from prison after a seven-year stint, Green loses money and then makes more money before discovering that he’s dying of a “rare blood disease.” Hope soon arrives in the form of two mysterious loan sharks (André Benjamin and Vincent Pastore) who prolong his life by making him their slave, though the usually bald Statham’s vigorous hairiness—full head of slicked-back locks, bushy Fu Manchu, and short beard—strongly suggests that excessive Rogaine use may be the real source of his troubles. What happens next isn’t quite clear, in part because Ritchie unnecessarily slathers opera singing over everything and ineptly fractures scenes by jumping back and forth in time, as well as because his story has no focus and his characters are one-dimensional mouthpieces for quasi-religious ideas left ill-defined right up until the explication-heavy finale. Countless title cards crop up to deliver quotes from Julius Caesar, The Fundamentals of Chess, and The Book of Suicide (among others), yet the relationship between these nuggets of wisdom and the ongoing action is so oblique that they only further heighten the pervasive air of pretentious inscrutability. While it’s unclear if this nonsense is propaganda for Madonna’s Kabbalah dogma, there’s absolutely no doubt that Revolver achieves a higher plane of badness.
- Samuel Goldwyn Films
- 106 min
- Guy Ritchie
- Guy Ritchie
- Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore, André Benjamin, Terence Maynard, Mark Strong
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