I remember when I first saw the trailer for Revolver. Having already fallen in love with Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, I was incredibly excited for the next Guy Richie action extravaganza. But then the reviews started pouring in. The film ended up with a 16% out of 61 total reviews on RottenTomatoes.com, and the consensus was quoted, saying “In attempting to meld his successful previous formulas with philosophical musings, Guy Ritchie has produced an incoherent misfire.” I quickly lost interest due to the reviews and the film faded from my memory. It was only until recently that my interest resurfaced, in the form of a long time friend’s positive opinion, as well as his desire to view it again to further decode its mysteries. We quickly rented it and sat down in front of his TV in Iowa.
My opinion of the first few scenes were a little iffy. The acting was a little off, seeming a little over dramatic and a bit staged for my tastes. The cinematography and obvious use of digital backgrounds gave the film an artificial look. However, as the film went on, I began noticing more and more of this kind of suggestion. There were several times that the film required you to suspend your disbelief in favor of this artificial style. I began to realize that maybe this was the point of the film. Of course, you’ll just have to watch it for yourself to understand, but know this: The style is important. Don’t let it come between you and the film.
The film introduces us to Jake Green, a criminal who has just been let out of prison. He emerges from his cell with a formula. A formula that can make him unbeatable in any game. He quickly comes under the protection of a pair of men who seem to know a lot about him and his enemies. The question is: is Jake getting scammed? This is the story on the surface level, however, Revolver is not your run-of-the-mill Guy Ritchie film. It’s got so many layers and so much complexity that once the credits roll, you realize your head had exploded twenty minutes ago and you didn’t even notice. The film actually departs from Ritchies previous formula, favoring a psychological and philosophical approach to the world of his film. Many of the critics said that Revolver is simply trying too hard to be insightful, which resulted in a confusing mess of a movie. It is my opinion that this is not the case. Yes, the film is confusing while you’re watching it, but with some effort after the film is over, one can decode everything the film offered. Not many people are used to the kind of film that flexes their brains. Even the recent Inception is surprisingly straightforward and easy to understand. Even the ending doesn’t require a lot of thought after the credits, because the possibilities are already presented to you, you simply have to choose what ending you think makes more sense.
What makes Revolver so interesting and brilliant, is the fact that it’s confusing. The story deals with some philosophical elements that our human brains have trouble grasping. The revelations that the characters go through are hard to understand because they go against everything we thought we knew. The very fact that it has a 16% just proves how brilliant it really is because it means that people in general cannot grasp the very philosophical idea that the film is trying to prove as being hard to grasp.
To wrap things up, I believe Revolver is a good example of a highly underrated movie, that deserved more attention. If you go rent it, keep an open mind. This is not a normal film that just tells you everything you need to know. It’s a very complicated conflict between what you think you know and what the character of Jake is discovering. It does have some violence, which many people don’t consider to contribute anything to the story, but realize this: There is no enemy.
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(All ratings are out of five, with halves)
Story: **** 1/2
Editing: *** 1/2
Art Direction: ****
Overall “Film as Entertainment” Rating: **
Overall “Film as Art” Rating: ****