Revolver movie review – one of the best and underrated casino movies you can watch

Posted on 18 May 2017
By Carlton Whitfield
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With Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur hitting movie screens, we are taking a dig back through the movie crates and picking out some quality and yet overlooked casino movies – starting with Revolver, Guy Ritchie’s troubled gangster flick from 2005.

While as a ‘Guy Ritchie movie’ Revolver might not stand up to joining a list of the British director’s ‘classics, it seems more than a little harsh that the film was roundly attacked by the critics and didn’t get a wide DVD release.

Guy Ritchie fave player Jason Statham stars as Jake Green, a hardened gambler recently released from prison after a seven years and seeking to get revenge on the man who put him behind bars – casino owner and low-life criminal Macha (Ray Liotta).

Hell bent on payback, Green takes Macha for a healthy load of money in a single gambling session, but later loses all of it when a failed hit (courtesy of Macha) sends Green to mysterious loan sharks Avi (Andre Benjamin) and Zach (Vincent Pastore) for salvation.

The loan sharking duo claims to know how to keep Green alive, and in fact they do help him to survive past his current expiration date. But in return, Green’s saviours demand not just all of Green’s gambling winnings, but for him to accompany them on their daily loan sharking activities.

Which, in either a bit of mean spiritedness or a con Green can’t quite figure out. Avi and Zach are using Green’s own money to loan out, and are using him to literally hand the cash over. It’s a monstrous move to inflict on a gambler in love with his winnings, and something Green spends a great deal of time talking to himself about.

The first thing you’ll notice about Revolver is the lack of cinematic tricks employed by Ritchie. But all the great casino action will leave you wanting to play online roulette to make some money.

For movie fans who fell in love with Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, the overall lack of slow-motion, bullet-time, and other assorted editing gimmicks – their palpable absence in Revolver will jar with you and seem almost unnatural.

It marks a departure from Ritchie’s trademarked fast-paced, quick-edited direction – with those cinematic traits being replaced with a more colourful, glossier appearance. Boasting slower edits and more stable cinematography.

Also absent are the crazy and hilarious characters that gave Ritchie’s earlier films a bit of gravitas. Characters such as Dennis Farina, Benicio Del Toro, Vinnie Jones and Brad Pitt have been substituted with more serious, psychological characters.

Revolver has a promising start, with the first ten minutes introducing the “hero”, a recent ex-con (Jason Statham), the bad guy (Ray Liotta) and a mysterious group of people looking to protect Statham, led by André Benjamin.

There are some cool slow-motion shots, a small shoot-out and plenty of stuff that sets the stage for a great Guy Ritchie crime thriller. Throughout the movie, there are glimmers of Ritchie’s old thriller tendencies, which are to be applauded.

Unfortunately, Revolver is not a crime thriller. It is a psychological thriller, by every stretch of the imagination. To explain it fully would be saying too much, but as the story progresses, you begin to realise that Revolver is less about the situations that Statham finds himself in and more about the character himself.

Statham turns in one of his better performances here; while he is always enjoyable to watch, he always tends to play the exact same character. His character here isn’t all that different, but does demand more, and Statham handles those demands with ease.

Additionally, Ritchie’s actual direction is up to his usual caliber.

Revolver is an interesting film that goes a direction you wouldn’t have expected, but whether that direction is any good is up to you to decide. The movie isn’t a disaster, but did nothing for us other than to make us want to watch Snatch again, which can only be a good thing.