REVOLVER

I was predisposed to enjoy Guy Ritchie’s latest, and indeed the first act seemed promising. The fun use of color, over-the-top acting from Ray Liotta, and surreal setting — there are no references to a real city or even country, and twelve-dollar bills are the currency — told me Ritchie wasn’t taking himself or his story too seriously, but I was soon proven wrong.

The second half of this one-hour-fifty-minute movie made it feel three hours and fifty minutes long. I guess epic was the feeling being sought, but when the story evolved from who’s-conning-who-game to profound-psychological-thriller, Ritchie lost his own mind and with it all editorial sense. He seems to have had no one handy in the editing room to give him a second opinion and the result is a few scenes of embarrassing self-indulgence that inspired me to start counting the LED safety lights along the aisle carpet.

Not that the who’s-conning-who mystery was very involving in the first place. Since I guessed the “answer” (no huge feat) as soon as Statham set up the mystery in a flashback sequence, the revelation itself was quite a disappointment. Ritchie fails his own screenplay’s incessant reminders about how to outsmart one’s opponents (or audience). He tries to trick you by piling together so many layers of doublecrossing and Fight Club/Keyser Soze rhetoric that you’re dazzled by the overload, but everything manages to feel derivative and cliched.There are even a few intercuts of Kill-Bill-evoking animation that is “cool” but used so randomly that you wonder why he bothered until you remember that no one was around to tell Ritchie he didn’t have to do everything he wants to try, all in the same movie.

The best thing about the movie is the underused Stanley Tucci Mark Strong who steals every scene he’s in, but it’s too little too late. Tragically, by the time Tucci Strong wins over the audience in his final scene, the movie is already perpendicular to the surface and it’s only a final glimpse of what could have been.

Ritchie should get a clue from his buddy Matthew Vaughn’s rookie success and rely on someone else’s script for his next project. Interesingly, Revolver is Ritchie’s first movie NOT produced by Vaughn… Hmm, makes you wonder how much of “Lock, Stock” and “Snatch” were Ritchie and how much they were Vaughn saving Ritchie from his own bad ideas.

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14 thoughts on “REVOLVER

  1. Loz says:

    Utter Verbosity!!

    Its a killer film with a new take on editoral style. Yes, I agree there are some styles that have been seen in other movies, but the overall effect is one that is pleasing and intriuging to the viewer. I too like to guess the plot and while one susspects that Mr Green may be Mr Clandestine, himself, Its cool to know that he does not infact know. Statham is great in the movie, combining a prison issue murve hughes ‘tash with the finest clothes and shoes a man could find on the planet. The Juxtapositions of the film come thick and fast: “I love a new bill”. Well the twelve dollar bill is certainly new! The humour of Avi’s prose and elegance of his body langauge never fail to entertain.

    Didn’t place Stanley Tucci until I read this but wondered why his character was so captivating! His eyebrow raises are the best in the business! Nobody could have played the hitman better! Pure class. And that in a nutshell is what the film exudes for me. Pure class.

  2. Quentin says:

    Stanley Tucci wasn’t even in ‘Revolver’. ‘Sorter’ was played by Mark Strong. (See IMDB)

    FWIW: I think ‘Revolver’ is a good, clever, yet complicated film.

  3. Nobody says:

    My bad, thanks for the correction!

  4. Paul Robertson says:

    I think maybe you are wrong in thinking that you guessed the plot. Mr Green is NOT Mr Gold- Mr Gold represents the inner darkness in us all (the devil if you will) and the battle going on inside Mr Green is for his soul.
    The 12 dollar bill is not just a gimmick to set up an other world reality (look closely and you will see only the word says 12- the number is still 10). The 12 is religous symbolism. The bills appear when sin is involved. The quote above “I love a new bill” is not the important part of that speach- but “it even smells proud” is the crucial part. The next time we see the bill is when Mr Green shoots the other gambler in the foot for hurting his pride.
    Mr greens two demons/sins are Greed and Pride “nothing hurts more than humiliation and a little money loss” and this is what Avi and Zach make him face by giving away his money.
    The film is about realising that we all have a darker side, and we must learn that the voice in our head is not always the right thing to do- question your own actions, do the right thing, live a better life.

    • Just thought you might want to know, you are wrong about the number 10. I’m watching it now. The bill does not have the number 10 in the corners, it has 12, same as what is written. Besides, why would it ever have 10, it is not the back of a ten dollar bill. It is actually the back of a one dollar bill with a few modifications. Wish I could see it a little closer to see what they replaced the pyramid with on the reverse side of the Great Seal.

  5. Nobody says:

    Thanks Paul, I love reading a rehabilitation of a despised movie!

    I’m intrigued by your numerological interpretation but I am unfamiliar with the number 12’s association with sin, pride, or greed in the literature on number symbolism.

    I did like Ritchie’s last film, Rocknrolla, which I thought reigned in the excesses that plagued Revolver, but maybe Revolver deserves a second look. Thanks!

  6. oldrope says:

    I prefer ‘Revolver’ by beat combo the Beatles. Skiffle is the new gangster! Of course their Revolver does not feature Ray Liotta, my favourite kind of otter.

  7. Carl says:

    I may sound a little nuts, but I saw this movie back in 2006 and it bothered (confused) me so much that I thought about it constantly. Four months later I realized that this movie was about was really about a great economic scheme. Yes, there may be diff. levels to this film but if you think of Mr. Green as the Free Market, and not as a man, things fall into right place.

    I have looked all over the web for someone to confirm with me but no dice. Liotta’s (Macha) first line was about how deep an INVESTOR was buried. Their are tons of investor jargon and references that back my idea. When you understand the exact cause, steps, and financial used to bring our nation (US) nation into this deep recession, I always think back to this movie I saw so many years ago. This movie is a very deep master piece.

  8. royal says:

    twelve also represents the plenitude, the universe as a whole, as well many many other things.
    (12 herculean tasks being my favorite, since overcoming your own ego is about as herculean of a task as you can get!)
    i think avi and zach represent mr. green’s skill and confidence. He only meets them once he’s forced into isolation, and once they lay the framework for his inevitable internal battle, they disappear without a trace. he says there is no trace of their existence.
    not to mention their very limited interaction with anyone else in the movie, and the fact they know things which would be impossible to know, i.e. his terminal disease, not using the stairs, which coincidentally represents him fleeing the confined space of the elevator, not unlike the cell (and he landed there because of his ‘enemy’) where he first began to confront his own demons – but if they were constructs of his subconcious, they would have known these things. since the ego hides itself, they who represent his true self must hide as well. if they revealed their identities too soon, his ego would have realized the mortal threat, and he never would have had his epiphany.

    now, was it me that wanted to post this, or my ego?
    we’ll call it a draw.
    personally, as a slowly recovering egomaniac, this movie definitely makes my top 5 of all time.
    this movie is smart as a pair of little boy’s shoes.

  9. royal says:

    oh, the animated sequences are used to illustrate the way ego distorts perception.

  10. Nobody says:

    OK everybody, I give in! You have convinced me to give Revolver a second chance someday.

    Royal’s interpretation makes me think the movie might make a lot more sense if viewed as a dream, so I’ll try that next time.

  11. Bowman says:

    The movie makes perfect sense once you realize it is all just in Mr.Green’s head. And the battle is to conquer the ego before it poisons you. Lust, pride, greed, power-hunger, play-it-safe brother, chess and cons…conchess, innocence, sorter-logic? Full of allegories of mysticism, several religions, psychology….all put nicely together and packed so that an ego sees shyty thriller but conscience makes you think. Open your eyes and wake up Mr. Green…errr…Nobody. Don’t worry not many people got it, not even on 12th time.

  12. Trinity says:

    You never thought of the two men, the chess player and the con-man as stathem’s ego and superego, I think you swim shallower than you you know.

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