Revolver: Your mind will not accept a game this big

Everyone seemed to hate Revolver, and honestly I can understand why. On the surface its nothing like any of the other films Guy Ritchie has done. It also takes its self far too seriously. But what people missed is the sharp plot and cool one liners. The person to look out for is André Benjamin as Avi, he brings a certain element of smoothness to the whole plot, which I have to agree is complex and not easy to explain.

After spending seven years in solitary confinement and having his sister-in-law murdered, confidence trickster Jake Green (Jason Statham) is out to get revenge on Dorothy Macha (Ray Liotta).

Jake Green is a hotshot con artist who has acquired a specific strategy (referred to as “the Formula”), that is supposed to lead its user to win every game, during his seven-year stint imprisoned in solitary confinement. The Formula itself was discovered by two unnamed men in adjacent cells either side of Jake’s own. During the first five years of his seven-year sentence, the three men communicated their thoughts on confidence tricks and chess moves via messages hidden inside provisional books, such as ‘The Mathematics of Quantum Mechanics’. They plan to leave their cells simultaneously, but end up leaving Jake behind, who ends up serving the remaining two years. He finds that all of his possessions and money have been taken by the two men with whom he had shared everything but, having the two men’s Formula, he went about making a lot of money at various casinos. Two years later, Jake has garnered a reputation that leads many casinos to fear his freakishly good ‘luck’. The Formula is seen to apply to any game, and is often exemplified by his apparent mastery of chess. The story revolves around Jake’s epiphanic awakening, as he learns how to apply the Formula to the ‘game’ of life.

I think the reception says it all about the film…

The film was generally panned by critics: for example, it has been criticised on grounds of pretension and having an over-complicated plot by critics such as Mark Kermode. Reviews were so poor in the UK that The Guardian ran a story on how the distributor was able to attribute a quote 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.

There were, however, some positive reviews as well. Mark R. Leeper conceded that it was “a film for a narrow audience”, but said that he personally rather “liked it” and gave it a score of 7/10. According to Brian Orndorf, Revolver “is the perfect movie for those who like to crack things open and dig around the innards”, saying that it “reminded [him] quite a bit of Richard Kelly’s film, Donnie Darko”. He goes on to explain that “both films have a taste for the deliberately confusing, sharing scripts that take the viewer on a ride that requires much more than one simple viewing.”

So there you go a film for a niche audience who like there films with complex story arcs and twisted concepts. What more do I need to say?

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.