Starring Tom Wilkinson and Gerard Butler. Directed by Guy Ritchie. Rated MA 15+ (strong violence and coarse language)
Running Time: 114 mins
Rated: Rated MA 15+ (strong violence and coarse language)
Guy Richie's name has become synonymous with with tough British gangster movies: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Revolver. The flavour of the month a decade ago, he has not been the flavour for many a month or year since. Accused of repetition, lack of imagination, the substitution of visual flair for style, he is targeted by British critics. However, this kind of thing is what he does best and this is as good an example of his film-making as any.

This time he also has a more upmarket cast. Tom Wilkinson plays a gangster chief, full of his own pretentions, imagining that he is cleverer and more powerful than he really is. Mark Strong is effective as his chief adviser. They get themselves into complicated deals with Russians with their new money, each side depending on the other to get permits to build a sports stadium. Jimi Mistry is the less than upright lawyer who usually makes things work.

But there are other players as well. There is the local gang, led by Gerard Butler, who also fancy themselves as smarter than they think. They are being used by a classy accountant for the Russians (Thandie Newton) to hold up the money couriers, stealing the Russian cash payments en route to the gangsters. The Russian entrepreneur has a good luck painting which he lends to the Brits - but it is stolen by the boss's spoilt, addict-musician adopted son. The father puts pressure on two American club owners who work with the son to find him and the painting.

There is all that intrigue, complications, double-dealing to follow and for all the threads to be untangled. Since there is a key element foreshadowed but unexpected, then the climax is not quite as we might have imagined.

Village Roadshow Out October 30

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting

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