Jake_The_Snake’s review published on Letterboxd:
Part Twelve (of 12) of Guy Ritchie retrospective
He's a dark fucking spirit.
Jesus, this is not at all what one expects from a Guy Ritchie movie. I remember thinking the same thing when I saw the trailer, but based on that it was because it looked very conventional, and while the story itself may be so, the manner in which it is told certainly isn't.
This is essentially a heist movie combined with a revenge movie. It's also Ritchie at his darkest, there's barely any of his trademark humor here, instead there's a constant air of dread and menace permeating in every scene (with the help from a terrific haunting score by Chris Benstead), a movie that has no intentions of letting back when it comes to character's violent ends.
This also marks the reunion between Ritchie and now movie star Jason Statham, their first collaboration in 16 years since Revolver, their fourth overall. I've always liked Statham even though most of the time he's often very one-note, it's usually his collaborations with Ritchie when we see a more interesting side from him. Here it seems at first like he's going to play his typical action star persona, but there's a certain ruthlessness and almost inhuman quality to his character here, a human Terminator who will hunt down and kill whomever is necessary to achieve his goals. He's perfect, and I'm very happy that he's seemingly continuing his relationship with Ritchie as the star for his next film as well. Everyone from the rest of the cast are also very good, Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Eddie Marsan and Josh Hartnett are all reliable presences in their roles. It was nice seeing Babs Olusanmokun, who was one of my favorite parts of the show Too Old To Die Young. Out of the supporting cast, curiously the one who impressed me the most was Scott Eastwood, who plays the main antagonist, I've never cared for him as an actor but after seeing this I think he should stick to playing villains more often.
The structure is an interesting one, there's a key sequence that we see from three different perspectives Rashomon style throughout the entire film, each time filling the gaps for events of the past that occur with different characters. Some might say that this approach hurts the momentum, but I quite like how it's handled, making sure we understand every character's motivation that collided on this key event.
Overall, I have to say I'm quite impressed. The tone is refreshingly grim, with some of the most brutal action sequences I've seen in a while and a surprisingly bleak ending. I've come to the conclusion that Guy Ritchie is one of my favorite filmmakers working today. With the exception of Swept Away, a clear mistake based on the misguided idea that Madonna could act, and Aladdin, which is basically a Disney cash grab, I've loved every single one of his movies, and I especially love how varied his filmography is, ranging from crime films (Lock, Stock, Snatch, RockNRolla, The Gentlemen) to period setting mysteries (Sherlock Holmes) to action-spy movies (Man from UNCLE) to big medieval fantasy (King Arthur) to weird spiritual journeys (Revolver) to now one of the best heist/revenge movies to have come out in a long time. Highly recommend it as one of my favorites to have come out of this year.
Here's my official ranking of Guy Ritchie's filmography:
Ranking: Guy Ritchie