Seven years ago, Guy Ritchie wrote and directed a gangster film that gave Brit cinema a huge pair of balls, cockneyfied the cultural lexicon and made him famous. Two years later, he did another one to prove it wasn’t a fluke. But what, exactly, has Mr Ritchie done since? Well, more than you. He’s married a 20th-century icon, read a lot of books, written one and made a dodgy movie while on holiday with the missus. Oh, and written and directed the most ambitious movie of his career: Revolver.
“It really is an audacious concept,” Ritchie tells Total Film, when we catch up with him as he finally cans the edit. “This script, from its inception to now, has taken me three years – which is fucking crazy. With a Snatch or a Lock, Stock, it only takes me about three months. This is more challenging than any other film I’ve ever done.”
Starring Jason Statham as wiseguy gambler Jack Green, Revolver takes place in a Vegas-esque city located somewhere out in the middle of the Atlantic. “Basically, it’s a game, it’s a con,” explains the director. “Jason’s a gambler who has a formula that’s making him a lot of money. He thinks he can crack it all – but then it doesn’t go quite as smoothly as he thought it would...”
Enter Yank hardman Ray Liotta (“A bit of quality”) as Statham’s nemesis and hip muso Andre 3000 (OutKast) as Statham’s mentor (“He turned out to be a major treat”). What does it all add up to? “Warfare,” grins Ritchie. “But not in a very conventional way. This is what titillated me about the concept: it’s warfare in a completely unique fashion.” But there’ll still be some good old conventional warfare, right? “Oh yeah,” he laughs, “there’s a lot of action, there are some chuckles and there’s a lot of style.” He pauses for a second. “I hate to say it like this, and I’m tempted to say, ‘Don’t quote me’, but if it’s a cross between films, I’m aiming for a cross between The Usual Suspects and The Matrix. That’s the idea.”
No arguing with the Londoner’s ambition on this one, then. But Ritchie’s adamant that Revolver isn’t a rejection of his gangster-movie roots. Rather, he’s hiking them to a whole new level – and right now, he’s refusing to spoil the surprise. “I like the genre, as you can imagine. I like lads running around with guns! I just fancied doing something different. I’d been titillated by reading about theoretical astro-physics, but who gives a fuck about the intellectual aspects of it? I’m interested in the practical aspects of it – and it’s going to very wild psychedelic places…” Bloody hell. So let’s get this straight: theoretical astro-physics. Guns. Andre 3000. Chuckles. Liotta. Gambling. Statham. Warfare.
Better sign us up now.