"Revolver" is an attempt from director Guy Ritchie to return to the crime thrillers that made him famous after the disaster that was "Swept Away", his collaboration with wife Madonna. "Revolver" - which was delayed for a year or two before coming out in the US - certainly doesn't see Ritchie working at the level of "Snatch" or "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", but at least it is one step back in the right direction after "Swept".
The film stars Ritchie staple Jason Statham as Jake Green, an ex-con who has just gotten out of prison. Eager to get back at Macha (Ray Liotta), the crime boss who put him in jail, he gets his wish - only to have Macha send his forces after him. But, there's hope: two strangers - Avi (Andre Benjamin) and Zach (Vincent Pastore) - are there to save him when he gets in trouble. When the pair engineer another rescue, he finds out that he has a rare blood issue, but if he signs over all his money to them, they can keep him on his feet.
However, things are certainly less simple than they sound. The film is meant to be a mind-bender, but it comes off as almost entirely incoherent. While still watchable, but the picture's twists and turns double back on themselves and quickly become muddled. Avi and Zach always seem to be one step ahead, but how? The picture seems to have been filmed with a more ambitious idea, but it just wasn't accomplished and/or couldn't be pulled together well enough in the editing room.
While the story was something of a mess, I found myself enjoying the performances nonetheless. Statham has always been an engaging, slow-boil actor and offers a charismatic effort here. Pastore and Benjamin also play their mysterious roles well, and Liotta offers his usual over-the-top effort. However, in terms of over-the-top, who to play that better than Liotta?
Technically, the film has less visual energy than Ritchie's prior films, whose camera trickery went along well with the frantic energy of the characters and story. While "Revolver" does tone down the visuals, it does at least still offer a sleek, moody look, thanks to Ritchie's usual cinematographer, Tim Maurice-Jones, as well as the work of production designer Eve Stewart ("Becoming Jane") and others.
Overall, I kept with the picture and enjoyed the performances, but thought the story would work itself out in a way that was more satisfying. Still, while I thought the story was a mess, the movie still seemed like it was giving an effort to try and be something more - it just didn't reach what it appeared to be aspiring to be.
VIDEO: "Revolver" is presented by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Picture quality remained high throughout the majority of the show. Sharpness and detail remained first rate during most of the film, save for a few slightly softer moments. The picture did have a couple of slight instances of edge enhancement, but no instances of artifacting, print flaws or other concerns were noted. Colors looked a tad on the subdued side, but this may be by intent.
SOUND: "Revolver" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film did offer some surround use for various effects during the most intense scenes (such as the handful of action sequences) but otherwise, the film's audio was spread across the front speakers quite well. Audio quality was superb, with clear, natural dialogue and crisp, punchy effects.
EXTRAS: Director Guy Ritchie and editor James Herbert offer up a full-length audio commentary for the movie. A few minutes worth of outtakes get some pretty decent laughs - while not the most hysterical set of goofs, there are some chuckles. Herbert and Ritchie return in "The Concept", a 16-minute interview where the two discuss story and their experiences collaborating on the picture, as well as topics like the animated sequence, inspirations and more.
"The Game" is a longer, more general "making of" documentary. The 24-minute piece is an average promotional doc, mixing some fairly basic behind-the-scenes interviews and footage. We also get a featurette on the film's score, 7 deleted scenes (most with a discussion from Ritchie about why they were deleted), a photo gallery, trailer for the music and promos for other Sony titles.
Final Thoughts: "Revolver" offers a set of very good performances, but the script twists itself into a knot. The DVD presentation offers excellent audio/video quality, as well as a strong helping of supplemental features. Overall, the movie didn't work well enough for me, but it was interesting enough and the performances good enough to give it a light rental recommendation.
The Film C+