Guy Ritchie Movies

Monday, February 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Guy Ritchie Movies

While his feature film career is just a little over a decade old, director Guy Ritchie has had a number of ups and downs. He’s at his best when weaving together tales of violent British hoods and darkly comical outsiders. He’s at his worst when married to Madonna. Fortunately, that union is no longer an issue, and his most recent films have hinted at a return to his earlier form.

Ritchie, despite suffering from dyslexia and never having attended film school, turned out a 1995 short film called The Hard Case. It started getting some notice, especially from Trudie Styler. Trudie, in case you don’t know, is the wife of iconic rock star Sting. She decided to invest, her husband agreed to a supporting role, and the production was off and running. The rest, as they say, is history.

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) – Eddie (Nick Moran) is a wizard when it comes to cards, especially the UK game known as three card brag. But if he wants to play in the high-stakes underground game held by crime boss (and sex shop owner) “Hatchet” Harry Lonsdale (P.H. Moriarty), he’ll need to raise 100,000 pounds. Luckily, he’s got three pals who are willing to help stake him: con-man Bacon (Jason Statham), chef Soap (Dexter Fletcher), and buyer and seller of stolen goods Tom (Jason Flemyng). But the game is rigged, and Eddie soon finds himself owing Hatchet Harry 500,000, with the balance due in a week. As the pals try to put together the money, they’ll bump into a wide range of colorful crooks and cons, including a murderous thief named Diamond Dog (Frank Harper); Harry’s enforcer, Barry “the Baptist” (Lenny McLean); crazed drug lord Rory Breaker (Vas Blackwood); nervous fence Nick “the Greek” (Stephen Marcus); and collection agent and loving father Big Chris (Vinnie Jones). Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones were first introduced to international audiences, and their charisma gives the film a major boost. But the rest of the supporting cast isn’t anything to sneeze at, and the same can be said of Ritchie’s rough-and-tumble script and visually distinctive directing. Thanks to the critical and commercial success of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Ritchie found himself hailed as a future superstar–a reputation he would confirm with his follow-up film.

Snatch (2000) – Are you a fan of ensemble casts that blend major stars and rock-solid character actors? Then check out some of the cast of Guy Ritchie’s second major release, Snatch: Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, Benicio del Toro, Vinnie Jones, Dennis Farina, Rade Serbedzija, Lennie James, and Alan Ford. As you might expect, they primarily depict members of London’s criminal underworld, and the two major plotlines–which eventually intersect–involve a stolen diamond and an unlicensed boxing match. Pitt demonstrates his comedic skills and chiseled physique as an Irish bare-knuckles boxer whose accent renders him unintelligible much of the time. Throw in a dog who’ll eat anything, a Russian who’s impossible to kill (almost), and lots of illegal hand-to-hand combat, and you’ve got yourself one of the best Guy Ritchie movies to come down the pipe to date.

Swept Away (2002) – Winner of five Razzie Awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Madonna, who also won Worst Supporting Actress for another film), Worst Screen Couple (Madonna and Adriano Giannini), Worst Remake, and Worst Director. That should tell you everything you need to know about this stinker that heralded the beginning of Ritchie’s “Madonna phase” and revolves around a spoiled socialite who learns a few lessons in humility and love after becoming stranded on a desert island with a ship’s hunky first mate. During the film’s American release, it failed to even crack the one-million-dollar mark, despite a budget of around $10 million.

Revolver (2005) – The second–and thankfully last–film of the “Madonna phase,” Revolver is a pretentious and convoluted mess that attempts to take the teachings and symbolism of The Material Girl’s precious Kabbalah and shoehorn them into a movie about a con-man (Jason Statham) looking for revenge against a gangster named Dorothy (Ray Liotta). Truly awful beyond belief, it ranks as one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen…and that’s really saying something. Watch at your own peril.

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RocknRolla (2008) – After the disastrous Madonna period, Guy Ritchie returns to his roots with a tale of UK crooks plotting, scheming, and generating plenty of laughs in-between scenes of violence. Gerard Butler stars as One-Two, an ambitious criminal who organizes a heist in order to pay back crime lord Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson). But what One-Two doesn’t know is that the money he and his cohorts are stealing is Lenny’s to begin with, which leads them on a madcap journey to return the loot and save their collective hides. Thandie Newton co-stars as a treacherous accountant; Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Jeremy Piven are a pair of record producers; Idris Elba is One-Two’s partner in crime; Mark Strong is Lenny’s right hand man; and Toby Kebbell is Johnny Quid, crack-addicted rock star who also happens to be Lenny’s son. While not as strong as Snatch or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, this film marks a return to form of sorts for Ritchie, especially if you’re a fan of crime movies.

Sherlock Holmes (2009) – The latest in a long line of movies about the world’s greatest sleuth, but also the most profitable thanks to star Robert Downey’s turn as a decidedly bohemian Holmes. He’s joined by strait-laced partner Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), a reluctant participant who’s just looking to settle down and get married. Their case: solving a series of murders with a Satanic motif, as well as figuring out how the lethal Lord Henry Blackwood (Mark Strong) was able to rise from the dead following his execution. Downey’s accent falters at times, but he otherwise provides an entertaining portrait of a genius who’s only happy when pushed to the limits of his ability. Law is the real star of the show, a far cry from the previous depictions of Watson as a comical bumbler. Rachel McAdams also appears as a woman from Holmes’ past, but she’s largely there to help set up the sequel. There’s way more action that you’d expect, including plenty of chances for Holmes to demonstrate his skills at the martial art known as Baritsu. Look for the sequel–and an all-out battle with Professor Moriarty–to hit theatres in December of 2011.

That concludes our look at all the Guy Ritchie movies currently available on DVD and Blu-ray disc. These can either be purchased from Amazon or rented from Netflix, and we do get a small commission if you choose the latter option. That money goes right back into our site, allowing us to keep bringing you more articles like the one above.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 5:30 pm and is filed under Good Movies, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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