RocknRolla has the hard exterior of a rock but rarely flowingly rolls. Guy Ritchie, after a batch of terrible films, sits in his slickly greased up metallic director's chair, hard as nails, and activates "Full Ritchie Mode". This British gangster flick feels more Ritchie than Guy himself. More cockney than a cock's knee. And more "poof" than a rainbow coloured feathered pillow. He pretty much crammed every trope he adores using into two hours, and for the most part, works pretty well. It's just pleasing and satisfying seeing him back in his comfort zone, even if this is no 'Snatch' or 'Lock Stock'. A kingpin of London makes a deal with a Russian businessman, when said "whiskey is the new vodka" millionaire loans out his favourite painting. It gets stolen, everyone's enraged, an informant has yet to be discovered, money is being stolen, and other stuff happens.
Right, so the "plot" isn't exactly the Crown Jewels, but more on that later. What immediately slots into this convoluted mechanism is the script. It's bangin'. Tastier than a steak and kidney Pukka pie. Lap that dialogue up, because it's deliciously juicy. Harsh, brutal and jam-packed with British slang. From the viewpoints on immigrants to an over-extended gag on "flowers", and by that I mean us homosexuals. Whilst the latter could've been better handled, particularly during a "coming out" scene, there is plenty of dark humour to be found in the screenplay. Many repeatable quotes, I'm sure.
The majority of characters are streamlined and pretty forgettable, mostly due to the average performances. However, Wilkinson, Strong and Kebbel were just exceptional and took centre stage. Strong in particular balances that menacing demeanour with smart comedic execution. So, back to the story. To put it simply, it's all over the place. An unfocused compilation of sub-plots that are discarded by the third act. Ritchie's intentions are well produced, yet the overall execution teeters between overambitious and obnoxious. Either way, it's never fully formed which is a dire shame. Had it been well rounded, this may have matched his previous gangster flicks.