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Rocknrolla

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The convulsively entertaining RocknRolla is Guy Ritchie’s strongest outing to date, even if it is just another of his trademark boys-with-guns gangster flicks. Narrative cohesion has never been Ritchie’s strong suit, and it takes about a half-hour to realize that the film’s shaggy-dog story doesn’t make a lick of sense. What truly matters are the rogue’s gallery of colorful criminal lowlifes, Ritchie’s undiminished flair for writing gleefully profane, uber-stylized dialogue and some strikingly original action set pieces. David Higgs’ eye-popping high-def cinematography is the best advertisement for Blu-ray since Speed Racer, and the polyglot soundtrack (heavy on vintage Clash) kicks ass like nobody’s business. Ritchie may never become a major artist — he’s still too beholden to the Tarantino playbook of postmodern hooliganism — but he has the instincts of a first-rate entertainer. And in a dispiriting fall movie season where fun has been in conspicuously short supply, RocknRolla delivers the goods. HHH 1/2

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