When people think of Guy Ritchie, they're reminded of movies liket Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Two great movies that, notable for their unique British humor and also very violent but funny action scenes. Next month, Ritchie's new film The Man From U.N.C.L.E hits theaters and it seems to go the same direction as his most successful movies have.
However, after making Snatch, Ritchie directed two box office bombs. Swept Away (a romance film starring Madonna) and Revolver. While Swept Away can surely be forgotten, the other movie mentioned (Revolver) has during recent years become a cult film. The film has a very long story behind it. It actually took two years until it got a proper American release due to a very funny reason which will be explained later in this post.
But let's look into Revolver. When the movie was announced, fans of Ritchie were very happy. A new action movie starring Jason Statham, how fun isn't that? The fans soon found out that Revolver is in fact a much, much deeper film without any jokes at all. This is why the film wasn't successful. People associated Guy Ritchie with just Snatch. They didn't expect him to explore new stuff which he surely did with Revolver which came out in 2005.
So what makes the movie so different from the rest of his work? It is simply one of the most mind bending films ever made. Ritchie worked together with Luc Besson on the script for a total of two years and surely put a lot of effort into it. Reading the plot description on most movie websites, it usually says Gambler Jake Green enters into a game with potentially deadly consequences. That doesn't sound very original, because it's just the first scene in the movie summarized.
After that scene, Revolver becomes a thriller centered around humanity, especially people's ego. I'd go so far as saying that this becomes a David Lynch film. If the film would have been released under his name, it would have done much better critically. Guy Ritchie simply isn't a director people expect a mind blowing thriller from.
In fact, when the film was released in the UK it was so panned by critics that The Guardian ran a story on how the distributor managed to attribute a quotation to The Sun saying that the director was "back to his best". The quotation came from a section of the Sun Online website created by a PR agency on behalf of the film's distributors. The US release was postponed and re-edits had to be done.
The original cut of the movie ran on 101 minutes. But the distributors criticized Ritchie for making a "movie that was too confusing for the audience to follow". The next year was spent on editing a cut of Revolver that was going to be easier to understand than the original. In 2007 this version was released theatrically in the US to even worse reviews. Critic James Berardinelli wrote "surprise of surprises, Revolver turns out to be worse than "Swept Away" - and not just by a little bit".
Every single critic missed the point of the movie. You can't watch it once, you have to watch it at least twice to understand it. And when you do understand it, you can't stop loving it (like me). There are several analysis on the internet and I can recommend reading some of them after watching the movie the first time. I admit that I ditched this movie for many years. It wasn't until a friend told me how good it was that I gave it a try. And I was literally blown away.
I've always been a fan of mind blowing movies. And Revolver lands on the top of my all time favorites. Below, I will just list two central themes of the movie which are good to think about when you watch it. However, I recommend that you watch the film before you read them.
READ HERE TO UNDERSTAND THE MAIN POINT OF THE FILM (MINOR SPOILERS):
As mentioned above, Revolver deals with the theme of ego. What an ego can do to you, and the fact that your ego is in fact your biggest enemy and it will always be. The greatest enemy will hide in the last place you would ever look. This line changed my life and made me realize something very important about humanity. Now believe me, I knew a little about this before but Guy Ritchie opened my eyes for it.
The other main theme is reality. Just remove all sense of reality. Consider every possibility. And slowly close in what is sensible in a different reality. This movie is not intended for those who think in the now. That is the con. The main character was so into the reality of now and in the future, he did not consider what could really be happening. This movie goes into the basic philosophical question, "What is Real?" We have to consider that there is no sense of reality and that everything around us is something that we create to con us into believing what is real.
This section will be edited for a further analysis as soon as possible.
Note that I haven't even mentioned the acting or cinematography in this post so far. Let me simply tell you that about every actor is perfectly cast. Especially Jason Statham who I am not a fan off. Ray Liotta gives an unforgettable performance in this film. Revolver is available on Netflix and please go watch it! Let's discuss and analyze it down below.
Like this post? I like different films. Follow me for more! I will soon make a post about five very surreal but rather unknown films.