Faltering with the dismal Swept Away, writer/director Guy Ritchie tries to reclaim his former glory by returning to the crime genre which made him in Revolver. However, this time the smart wit and snappy humour found in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch is replaced by a frustratingly pretentious philosophical and psychological quiet, which makes for neither engrossing nor entertaining viewing.
Ritchie regular Jason Statham stars as Jake Green, a big time gambler who – whilst doing time in solitary confinement – has developed a winning formula which he uses to drain his opponents dry.
With his sights set on revenge against his nemesis, the ruthless gangster Dorothy Macca (Ray Liotta), Jake unexpectedly becomes embroiled in a confusing high stakes game set up by two mysterious loan sharks (Andre Benjamin and Vincent Pastore). However, this time it is Jake’s life which is on the line, as a mysterious crime boss named Mr. Gold lurks in the background.
Revolver is at its core an existential gangster/grifter movie, which is driven by a complicated and confusing screenplay. Its shtick gets really boring really fast, Ritchie’s repetitive structure of riddles upon riddles, laced with pseudo philosophical posturing and violence, accomplishing nothing more than dragging the viewer kicking and screaming to an inevitable un-satisfactory conclusion. And for all of its sharp editing, snazzy camera techniques, quirky animated interludes, and high powered gunplay, the level of excitement barely raises an inch.
The one thing which Ritchie is still a daft hand at is his ability to create fun larger than life characters – namely hard talking, serious looking men – that always provide solid entertainment, in spite of the films lacklustre plot crumbling around them. The most memorable of these is Statham’s greasy looking anti-hero, Liotta’s solarium junkie gangster, and one of the more unique hitmen seen in some time portrayed by Mark Strong.
Recognition should be given to Ritchie for attempting to create a unique gangster film, and Revolver does have its share of interesting moments. Yet effort can only get you so far, and unfortunately for Ritchie and his audience, Revolver just does not have that winning formula to see it through to the end. Another nail in the coffin for a once promising career.