Big jackpot for normal guys
The first answer to the rhetorical question of why we love Guy Ritchie is the most obvious – adventurous and criminal romance. Any of the simple guys are pleased to be on the screen is not so simple. English boys, petty swindlers and big mafiosi, as if on purpose, are very similar to ours: both in manners and costumes. Richie ‘s sensational debut “Lock, Stock, Two Barrels and Why is Max mute in Max and Ruby” took place in the notorious dashing nineties, and at the turn of the decade, the “Big Jackpot” sounded as a control shot .
Our last film is also known under a different name, which cannot be printed – the informal translator Dmitry Puchkov, nicknamed Goblin, tried to do so. It was here that he was most welcome: it is difficult to imagine this cockney world oversaturated with idioms and obscenities in a different performance. The characters’ phrases went to the people, Jason Statham, to whom Richie gave a ticket to the cinema, became the same familiar face as Sasha Bely – “boy quotes” signed by his name are still circulating on the network.
Note that the director, who is loved by different segments of the population in Russia, for some reason loves Russians himself. None of the top Western directors made films with Russian heroes more often. And if Boris Razva from “The Big Jackpot” is hilariously caricatured, then the oligarch with his henchmen from “Rock-n-Roller” is already serious. Well, the KGB agent Kuryakin from “Agents A.N.K.L.” performed by Armie Hammer – from our point of view, just the main character on which the whole action rests.
Obviously, it was the first films of Richie, and not Tarantino at all, that Alexei Balabanov was inspired when working on “Zhmurki” . In “Pulp Fiction” there is no such intensity of violence and such grotesque characters. The very reality of Tarantino films is rather grotesque. But Richie and Balabanov have the most recognizable reality. Tricksters, carnival madmen, bloody jesters and characters from the commedia dell’arte play out against the backdrop of ordinary leaden streets, be they in London or the Russian provinces.
The analogy with Balabanov can be drawn further. In the second half of the 1990s, they both were able to reinvent cinema in their homeland. Much has been said about the “Brother” revolution , which appeared out of nowhere in the post-perestroika desert. Balabanov gave us the first folk movie hero since Soviet times. British folk cinema, too, experienced a comparative decline until the arrival of a cohort of colorful characters by Guy Ritchie.
According to the status, the hero was supposed to move to Hollywood. Richie happily took up the opportunity to experiment. In his genre omnivorousness, he could also be likened to Balabanov, who easily removed the costume arthouse, and religious parables, and about war, and about love. But the search for Richie, alas, almost turned into a fall for him.
Englishman in New York
We in Russia forgave him more than the public and critics in the West. Forgiven not his style melodrama “Gone” about lovers on a desert island, where the director’s then wife Madonna did not shine in the main role. They found their charms in the pseudophilosophical “Revolver” , also filmed under the influence of Madonna with her fascination with the esoteric teachings of Kabbalah. They sighed with relief, seeing again the clashes of British gopniks over cultural values in the “Asmongold Girlfriend“. Favorably – however, as in the whole world – they accepted the dilogy about “Sherlock Holmes” with Robert Downey Jr., who, of course, is not Lebanon, but is not deprived of a sense of humor.
It seems that no one looked curious on the idea of “The Sword of King Arthur” – alas, too Hollywood formulaic fantasy. Perhaps, fortunately, the very modest fees forced the Warner company to refuse to release five more (!) Films of the proposed franchise. Aladdin , by contrast, has become Richie’s most commercially successful film, but there is little to say about this almost-frame-by-frame Disney remake.
Finally, years of anticipation paid off to true fans – Richie directed Gentlemen . Long-time acquaintances podlatnenny boys have matured, matured, changed their olympics and raincoats from the nineties to more colorful branded outfits, but did not lose either energy or charm. The swirling misadventures of drug dealers, orgies with pigs, fights with rappers, again the Russian mafia – everyone applauded, and in Russia, it seems, is the loudest. Richie, we believed in you!
Hereditary nobleman with concepts
There is some prejudice according to which the hooligans from the nineties Richie and Tarantino made some kind of anti-intellectual movie. It is often remembered that neither one nor the other graduated from schools (really). It was even said about Tarantino that he had not read a single book in his life (this is about a man who, having arrived in Russia, fell with tears at the tombstone of Boris Pasternak). However, the American innovator, in a sense, really came from the bottom and was self-taught, and with his British counterpart, everything is more complicated.
Richie, of course, looked like his heroes from afar. In 1998, an interview was published in which the famous director, who had awakened, spoke about his love of violence, “fagots” and life by concepts. Of course, all this was an ironic pose of a hereditary nobleman who grew up in an old estate and never felt the need. And also problems with work – Richie started filming videos and commercials early, and could show the right people his debut short film “Difficult Business”. As a result, Trudy Styler, an actress, producer and wife of the singer Sting, gave the director the money for “Cards …”
“I am against bad style, I am a dandy, mom”
With such a background, Richie is not afraid of failures and does not need to prove anything. All the unevenness of his filmography is a consequence of the whims of a noble dilettante. Where Tarantino’s parvenu is trying to surprise, to create a complex object with several layers of meanings and metaphysical generalizations, Richie is only interested in the style, which in his best works is the content.
Another Englishman in America, Alfred Hitchcock, brought to the cinema the magic formula that turned the British spy detective into a Hollywood thriller. Richie took with him a bunch of outlandish visual solutions that make a spectacle even out of an ordinary story. The gypsy village, steampunk London, Wow Character Lookup, the leaden Europe of the Cold War become the stage of Shakespeare’s theater. Richie with a truly English sense of style turns his stories into a masquerade in which the heroes seem to just dress up as gangsters, scouts or detectives. The discreet outfit of Brad Pitt in The Big Jackpot or the expensive suit of Matthew McConaughey in The Gentlemen are an integral part of the masquerade and a sign of a certain social class. At times, people seem to be the last thing Richie cares about in his visual rides with brawls, special effects and costumes. In fact, almost all of the actors in Richie’s characters are unforgettable – from Vinnie Jones to Colin Farrell. As if masks were attached to their faces.
The viewer immediately wants to try on this bow, to enter this space – hence the infectiousness of quotes from Richie’s films. The author invites us to take part in the carnival, where everything is not what it seems, but very fun – and sometimes scary. To paraphrase one of the heroes of the British director’s debut: who would not like to sometimes add bloody colors to the gray palette of everyday life.