Guy Ritchie shot to fame with his rough’n’tumble attempts to capture the caricature elements of London’s seedy underbelly but was quickly shunned when he dealt with existentialism and guns (Revolver) and his wife and….well his wife (Swept Away).
I am going to be honest and express a like of his early work but Revolver was so fucking convoluted that I rented it to watch it a second time as soon as it came out and still thought it was wank. Thank God, come October Ritchie will return to the formula that made him famous with London mob thriller RocknRolla and he seems to be ticking all the right boxes.
‘Street-smart’ actually features in the wikipedia description of lead One-Two (300’s scenery chewer Gerard Butler) and will be more of a return to Nick Moran (who, I hear you cry) and The Stath (Snatch). However, here is a negative for all you Ritchie long stays – no Statham. The seething, balding cocke-r-ney has got a clash of schedule and was unable to take up a role in his long-time collaborators next piece.
Never fear though, because Ritchie has tapped into the limitless potential being displayed in HBO’s award-winning, critics-baiting crime thriller The Wire and pulled out Idris Elba to play One-Two’s accomplice Mumbles.
If you are saying ‘who?’ log-out right bloody now, walk to HMV pick up Series 1-4 of The Wire, lock yourself in a cabinet with a DVD player and don’t come out until you are done. In the biting-crime series Elba plays gang leader Stringer Bell – an uncompromising, towering enforcer who could do a solid job in Ritchie’s character-laden setting.
Thandie Newton – who was good in Crash and…well she was good in Crash – will play the obligatory love interest. Add to that Tom Wilkinson as declining mobster Lenny Cole, Matt King (Peep Show’s Super Hans) in a peripheral role and an as-yet-unnamed part for Jeremy Piven (Entourage’s Avi) and you’ve got one top cast.
The plot is essentially about oligarchic imposition on the British property-market – not your traditional gangster fare but an increasingly real undercurrent of modern crime drama. Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises gave a bleak view of the Russian mob in London and if Ritchie can save from the cartoon scenes, flip-flopping twists about whether or not Jason Statham is actually made up of part OutKast part Sopranos and we could be looking at a return to form. Maybe I am getting ahead of myself but this sounds like it could be good.