REVOLVER (Guy Ritchie)
Guy Ritchie was born to do gangster films. LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS is downright inventive and funny; its unofficial sequel, SNATCH is equally enjoyable. ROCK N' ROLLA is a little over-the-top, but still worth watching. So when a guy like Ritchie (I haven't seen SWEPT AWAY, and I'm not planning to) decides to toy with our minds via the convoluted and chopsuey cinematic mess that is REVOLVER, there goes the cardinal rule about visionary filmmakers and that one time that they hand us a piece of crap.
A character in the mockumentary FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION by Christopher Guest said: "I always tell my students, 'you can hand me a piece of crap wrapped in a big red bow, but at the end of the day it is still a piece of crap wrapped in a big red bow'." While I cannot easily dismiss REVOLVER as crap, the big red bow mentioned is the tirade of blinding colors, cartoonish editing, the Tarantino ripoffs (the anime use is just one example), and the attempt to cinematically portray human psychology in the guise of a gangster thriller. Ritchie, for your own good leave the psychoanalysis to David Cronenberg.
At first I was hooked with the story: a man (Jason Statham) gets out of prison after seven years of lockup, settles a score with a foe (an over-the-top Ray Liotta) and gets nicked by two sleazy loan sharks (Vincent Pastore, Andre Benjamin). When the Freudian references surfaced, that's where Ritchie spun out of control. Mind you, there is a fine line between being provocative, and being plain masturbatory (meaning only the storyteller is having fun).
There exists two versions of the film; the one which angered critics the more is the one where the ending is like a convention of psychoanalysts. One critic (I forgot who) even said that if Deepak Chopra would be in a gangster thriller, he's expecting Chopra's head to get blown off.
I do commend the attempt to portray the clash of man and his ego, though. But like I said, Ritchie is better off without the mind games.