While many of the world’s experts have blamed the mysterious, and disturbing, honeybee decline on a combination of chemicals and disease, biologists may have solved why the pollinating creatures are dying off. It is, they say, down to a single cell organism which acts as a parasite and infects the larvae of the insects.
I will admit, I adore Guy Ritchie’s films, even the ones that have been bashed by the media (that’s spelt critics by the way) and have done ever since hearing a “behind the scenes” tale from my old agent. It goes something like this:
“One of my other clients got cast to be in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and we were both very pleased. Later, after he’d finished his bit he explained what was really shot versus what had been in the script.” Lennie paused and shaking his head continued.
“The pages he had originally had a bit in the pub which was around three pages long, about three minutes on screen roughly, and it was all quite convoluted, a lot like rest of the film. Clever interaction between my client and the chaps in the pub. It was to end with him getting a facefull of brandy and being set on fire. According to him, the budget was so tight that the scene kept getting smaller and smaller until it was just him being set on fire and running out of the pub!”
All this long apocryphal anecdote says is that Guy did not let the lack of money stop his using an actor he’d hired for the scene. His vision, and the implied loyalty to his cast dictated that he keep at least part of the brandy scene in and he did. You have to admire that, just as one has to admire his lifelong love affair with London.
Anyone who has been in London over the last 30 or so years can see just how much it has changed. Canary Wharf, the docklands, and South London to name a few locations which stand out the most as being very different from what they were in the early 80s. The fact that the film is, according to Ritchie, partly about the property prices skyrocketing out of control, (To the point where honest Brits have found themselves forced out of the market.) again, rings true to those who lived in Britain over the last 30 years.
Maggie Thatcher’s “right to own” opened the floodgates in the housing market and her selling off of council houses left the door wide open for big money to own property and for the little folks to slowly get pushed out of the equation. Ritchie’s film is not about Britain, however, it is about London.
Relying upon the same formula used in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as well as Snatch, RocknRollahas that same feel minus Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones. Although the film is enjoyable, I admit that I loved it despite his use of Tom Wilkinson as Lennie who should clearly have been played by Mike Reid (Snatch, Eastenders).
Having said that, the cast, including Wilkinson, were superb. Tom Hardy, Gerard Butler, Mark Strong, Idris Elba, Thandie Newton all delivered. I was surprised to find that the comedic points in the film made me laugh as much as those in ‘Two Barrels’ did. The bit with Hardy, Butler, and later, Elba and the whole “he was going inside for 5 years” schtick had me in hysterics.
The one actor who really went above and beyond was, of course, the brilliant Toby Kebbell. Only he could have pulled off the role of Johnny Quid with his various ups and downs. The actor had me in stitches in the lift scene with Archie (Strong) and his, “Don’t hurt me Archie! I’m only little!”
Kebbell is a dynamo and his timing and delivery in all his films is beyond impeccable. I would say that my only complaint, apart from the lack of Mike Reid, is that there should have been a lot more of Toby. While this should have been a #tbt review, I could not wait to write my thoughts down after watching the bargain basement blu-ray copy last night.
A 5 out of 5 stars and a good reminder that Guy Ritchie still has the chops despite a few misfires.
When the film V Is for Vendetta came out in 2005, the world was reminded of the old Guido “Guy” Fawkes and his part in the infamous gunpowder plot of 1605. This nefarious plot to blow up the House of Lords ended badly on November 5 when the plot, and Guy, were rumbled by authorities. Since that day, denizens of England have celebrated that day with fireworks, bonfires and effigy burning.
It was with surprise and a touch of sadness when I learned that Margaret Thatcher died today. She was 87 and a legend.
But even legends die.
This formidable women who changed the face of politics, Britain, and, in no small way, the world. Daughter of a grocery shop owner and as a child grew up in a household that was active in politics and the church.
She started in politics at an early age, running for local office in Dartford where she was the youngest and first female candidate in an all male race. It was during this time that she married Denis Thatcher.
But this is not a biographical recounting of this powerful woman, It is a look at how she embodied the theme of “girl power” long before it became an in vogue subject to talk about. She wasn’t a Spice Girl, but she was the perfect model of a strong female role model.
A role model that the world watched as she held office as Prime Minister longer than anyone before or since.
Whether you agreed with her political stance or even the party she represented, you can still admire her strength and her will, which is still being felt in the country today.
So I’m placing my metaphorical hat over my heart and bowing my head in remembrance.
So long Ms Thatcher (born: 13 October 1925 – died: 8 April 2013) – the Iron Lady is gone, but will never be forgotten.
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