“Revolver” with Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore, Andre Benjamin, Terrence Maynard, and Mark Strong
Directed by Guy Ritchie, Written by Luc Besson (adaptation) & Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie is easily one of my favorite directors. After being introduced to “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch” in high school by my best friend my cinema sphere increased ever so slightly and (save for “Swept Away”) I have since gone onto to watch all of Guy Ritchie’s films. The very first time I watched “Revolver” I didn’t get it, and thus I didn’t like it. (Higher thought at its finest, eh?)
However, the other evening my girlfriend and I sat down and watched it. It was her first viewing and my second, but with a fresh perspective and several years this viewing was revelatory. I would also like to mention that I had also just finished the game “Bioshock Infinite,” which touches on topics of a similar nature. Except, in “Bioshock” the protagonist, Booker DeWitt, faces his own ego in the literal sense–an alternate version of himself, divulged from a single event. I find this important, because with my mind still reeling from the plot of “Bioshock Infinite,” perhaps my mind was more open to a film concerning the confrontation of one’s ego.
The top layer plot of “Revolver” is fairly straightforward, especially when considering Ritchie’s past films. It follows Jake Green (Jason Statham) after a seven-year stint in solitary. During his time in solitary he ‘meets’ the prisoners in the cells on either side of his due to the interception of secretly passed notes via daily book drops. One of the aforementioned prisoners is a chess master, the other a master con artist.
With the promise of the three of them escaping together, Green shares quite a bit of personal information with the other two cellmates. Eventually, the chess master and the master con artist escape without Jake, leaving him in solitary for another two-years. Upon Jake’s release he discovers that all of his money and worthy-belongings have been taken by the two other prisoners and any hint of them is two-years old.
However, he was imparted one gift from them–a working game theory. Essentially, it is a list of rules that govern the literal and figurative ‘game.’ They can be applied to win chess, poker, or any game of chance, but given the right person they could be used to control events, scenarios, and the outcomes of life.
Some backstory: Jake Green was put away because of Dorothy Macha (Ray Liotta), and after learning the ‘rules’ from the chess master and master con artist, he builds up his own personal wealth again after being released from prison. After enough time and money has been built, Green decides to enact his revenge against Macha by humiliating him and conning him out of some money.
Green is successful, but this singularity sets off a chain of events that inevitably pits Macha against Green, involves the unseen Mr. Gold, and includes the mysterious chess player and con artist from Green’s past in a film that not only tells of rival gangsters and loan sharks, but one that pits men against themselves in a battle of wits and ego.
“Revolver” is stunningly shot. There are some truly superb moment of cinematography that play into Ritchie’s British, gangster-flick wheelhouse perfectly. However, “Revolver” isn’t your typical gangster film. The plot isn’t as twisty or grandiose as Ritchie’s past endeavors, but it instead focuses on the more surreal. The heart of the plot is in Green’s confrontation of his ego and Macha’s embrace of his. What are the consequences of this, and how can we separate ourselves from our own worst enemy–our ego?
It’s an immense topic to tackle, but Ritchie pulls it off with some clever writing and some amazing cinematography. If you want something a little trippy and surreal with a crime flavor check out Guy Ritchie’s “Revolver.”
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- BioShock Infinite review: Of lions, lambs and liars (joystiq.com)
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- Strong Pictures and Subtle Themes in ‘BioShock Infinite’ (Moving Pixels) (popmatters.com)
- Game: BioShock Infinite Review (techland.time.com)
- Tom Cruise Eyeing ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ With Guy Ritchie At Warner Bros (m.deadline.com)
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