Hey folks, Harry here with two rather different opinions on Guy Ritchie's upcoming film: LOVE, SEX, DRUGS AND MONEY. The first comes from a fan of Ritchie's prior two films. One that saw this as a different career turn movie for Ritchie, not unlike JACKIE BROWN was for Tarantino. Meanwhile, the second reviewer flatly dismisses the film. Personally I like Madonna, and flat out loved EVITA and I believe she can do wonderful film work when it is given to her. Here's your looks at this rough form version of the next film from the talented director of SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS...
Just thought you might like my opinions on Guy Ritchie's new film "Love, Sex, Drugs And Money" which was previewed here in the UK last night. I understand alot of the people who write in on the "talkback" thing like to question the validity of these reports, so the only details I can really give is that it was a piece of market research conducted by the company NRG, and took place at the Showcase Cinema, Wokingham Road, Reading, Berkshire. It was a very rough print, with a few unfinished effects, a hilarious temporary score featuring stuff from American Beauty, Shawshank and Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, and alot of slightly choppy editing. It was however very interesting and a step in the right direction for Guy Ritchie, who I'm a fan of.
Well, first of all I should point out that I haven't seen the original. It's a remake of an Italian film that came out in the 70's starring Giancarlo Giannini called "Swept Away". I can't compare the two directly, but there were alot of things in the film that I felt were bravely kept from the original, but more on that later.
As for a SPOILER FREE rundown of the plot, well it stars Madonna as a spoilt, rich-bitch socialite who goes for a cruise in the Mediterranean with her husband (the always-good Bruce Greenwood) and a few other rich friends (including that Jeanne Tripplehorn woman). While on the boat, she shows nothing but contempt for the captain and his staff, especially a lowly deckhand played by Adriano Giannini (here playing the same role his father did - a nice touch that pays off). However, when Madonna oversleeps one day and misses a trip to the mainland, she gets the deckhand to take her there on a dinghy, which subsequently breaks down and leaves them stranded. When an argument involving a flare gun sinks their dinghy, things don't look good, but they manage to paddle to a deserted island where a complete role reversal takes place. Madonna's character is unable to cope, being the spoilt little madam she is, and facing starvation she is forced to beg the deckhand to look after her, despite the fact she's been treating him like shit the whole time. Needless to say, this spiky and interesting relationship blossoms into a romance, of sorts.
First of all, in case anyone is worried that Guy Ritchie has gone soft and made a soppy romantic comedy - don't be concerned. This is a daring and very often uncomfortable look at two quite nasty and unsympathetic characters whose love comes about out of necessity. It goes to dark, dark places, Madonna's character is flagrantly and brutally racist, and Giannini's character is subsequently quite brutal in his treatment of her. You could even argue that he goes too far, making both characters very unlikable but somehow making their relationship more interesting. There are scenes of violence and, without giving anything away,
SPOILER WARNING...HIGHLIGHT TO READ
the issue of rape is explored to an almost unbearable level.
SPOILER WARNING OVER.
In short, this is a dark romance with little of Ritchie's customary stylistic flair, but retains aspects of the original that would normally have been cut away with the Political Correctness scissors. A very interesting attempt at something different from England's brightest young talent.
One last word that I think will help contextualise the film - I know he must be tired of the comparisons with Quentin Tarantino, but I think this is Guy Ritchie's "Jackie Brown". Both filmmakers have made two brilliant films that were quite similar, but critical and commercial successes (QT with Dogs and Pulp, GR with Lock Stock and Snatch). Tarantino then tried to show he could do something different, something a little more adult. He got slated by alot of people, but succeeded. Ritchie is trying to do the same thing, prove himself in another style with something more refined and grown up. Every female critic on the planet will hate this film, accusing it of misogyny, but it's an interesting attempt at something different. That's the best comparison I can think of, although "Love Sex Drugs And Money" has little in common with Jackie Brown and is more along the lines of Jonathan Glazer's film "Sexy Beast".
Well those are my main thoughts, and I managed to share as much with Ritchie himself, who attended a workshop after the film to listen to people's opinions. Nobody liked the title, and he asked for an alternative. I suggested "Swept Away", the title of the original Italian film, a gag I think only he got...
Keep up the good work!
And here's what the Pirate King thought....
Long time listener, first time caller, to coin a phrase. I happened to get a chance to see a test screening of Guy Ritchie's new film, "Love,Sex,Drugs and Money," starring Madonna, Bruce Greenwood, and some guy even I'd never heard of in the male lead. As per usual, we were told "it's not finished yet" and "temporary soundtrack" (mostly stuff from American Beauty), and the projection was on DV rather than film, which didn't really make that much difference.
Now, I'm the kind of guy who can find redemption in most movies. I also loved Lock Stock and Snatch. This however, was a decidedly sub-par affair. Basic plot: bunch of rich people go on a cruise from Greece to Italy. These include rich bitches Madonna and Jean Tripplehorn, Greenwood, and three also-rans. Madonna complains about everything, and treats one particular deckhand/sailor called Peppe, played by Adriano Giannini, like shit. This goes on for about 20 minutes, before Madonna insists that Peppe take her out in the dinghy after the others have gone off to some island. About half-way across the ocean, the boat stalls, and after more arguing they wind up on a desert island.
Here, the tables are turned- Beppe is the one in control and in power, and Madonna must learn to be subserviant to him. Eventually and predictably they fall in love until they are rescued. Madonna then has to choose between her new love, or her rich and successful husband. I won't spoil the end for you.
This film is predictable hokum at best. Madonna gives us another talent-free performance, and is so obnoxious that it's hard to believe Giannini wouldn't just kill her for food, let alone fall in love with her. There's too much repitition of "running across beach" scenes, and ___________ that really sits uncomfortably with the rest of the film.
The film is a definite departure from the cor blimey guv'nor world of Lock Stock and Snatch. This is a bad thing. In trying to prove he can do something other than London gangster films, Ritchie has left behind all of the charm, humour, and visuals that helped make those films great. We are treated to a couple of stylistic moments, such as Peppe's fantasy of pooring dinner over Madonna's head and throwing her overboard, and while this doesn't seem forced, it just serves to highlight the lack of class throughout the rest of the film. The guy I went with said it was like "Six days, Seven Nights" but without the happy ending. I just thought it was a bit flat, with no appealling characters.
Oh, and you get to see Madonna's nipple once, from a funny angle.
Call me "Pirate King"