A lot has already been written about Guy Ritchie’s new film. Soundbites like “What a complete pile of festering dog shit” and “Honestly, I’d rather sell my children to Gary Glitter than even contemplate sitting through that again.” may have led you to believe that the new release from the director of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a touch below par.
I am here to tell you that nothing could be wider of the mark. I sit here hands shaking with excitement ready to do my part in spreading the word to the world about the towering cinematic, artistic and philosophical triumph that is Revolver.
Taking the work of lesser talents such as Fincher, Singer, Scorsese and Hitchcock, Ritchie subverts the meaning (perhaps even the entire existence?) of modern cinema by toying with their motifs, plots and dialogue. Rendering them creatively impotent with his intellect, taunting them with his brilliance.
It seems almost churlish to discuss issues such as “plot” and “character” when dealing with a work that effectively re-draws the boundaries of what dramatic art can achieve, but as this is the vocabulary that Guy has used to communicate his vision it is fitting that we should examine the “physical” elements of the movie.
The story revolves around one mans quest to extract revenge against an evil crime boss who he holds responsible for the lengthy prison sentence he has just completed. Our hero, Jake Green is played by Jason Statham, in a performance which rates alongside Brando in On The Waterfront or De Niro in the Deer Hunter for sheer depth and nuance. Supporting Statham is a cast to die for, including Ray Liotta as the evil bad guy plus Andre Benjamin and Vincent Pastore as a pair of debt collectors who may be out to help Green, but who really knows?
The screenplay serves up scene after scene of quality drama and incredible dialogue while shrouding its true purposes in a veil of mystery with only the smallest of clues leading to what are probably the most amazing plot twists in the history of fiction. In fact the word “twist” does not convey the jaw-dropping impact that the revelation regarding the true identities of Benjamin and Pastores characters. The complete mindfuck was so amazing that at this point several members of the audience had to leave the cinema, presumably in order to go somewhere quiet in order to contemplate the enormous magnitude of what they had just experienced.
All the action is accompanied by a meaning-laden voice-over, provided by Statham, so accomplished in structure and delivery that you can almost shut your eyes and enjoy it without the need for visual input. If this is not included unexpurgated on the official sound track, someone will have royally fucked up.
Revolver is punctuated by fascinating near subliminal images, spiritual clues and numerical references (the lift stuck between 12 and 14, brilliant!) which are shrouded in mystery and yet pull the viewer in, creating an aura which I am sure will only start to crystalise during the 19th or 20th viewing. If this is the Kabbalah, then send back my e-meter and sign me up now, I’m sold.
In a final, bold and devastating move, there are no credits. Yes you read that right:
Amazing! No credits, where did that come from? Fuck you Goddard! Up yours Truffaut! This film has no credits! I nearly fainted from the sheer balls-out exhilaration of it.
Did I understand it? No. I didn’t understand all of it, I wasn’t intended to - in the same way that God doesn’t expect man to comprehend the meaning of his existence. Revolver is a film that will be discussed for years to come by great thinkers and intellects; people able to converse on the same level as someone like Guy. When, finally, its meaning becomes apparent, like the decoding of the human genome I believe that mankind will never be the same again.
The only reasonable complaint I have against this film is that it wasn’t nearly long enough. Just two and a half hours? Maestro, you tease us and leave us wanting more! People in the cinema were constantly looking at their watches, seemingly unable to explain how time had gone by so quickly.
The only way this film could have been better is if Madonna had been in it.
Guy Ritchie, I salute you.