Guy Ritchie didn't exactly have it all, but he had something: With 1998's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and 2000's Snatch, Ritchie built up a rep as the go-to guy for crime capers, having infused some desperately needed dollops of fresh blood into a tired genre. And then... it went to shit, with the Madonna business, their Swept Away remake, and Revolver, a film originally released in Britain, to much derision, in 2005.
Crammed with Kabbalah references and muddled psychobabble, Revolver's a fantastic fuck-up. I guess that should mean it's terrible, but it's actually kind of perversely fascinating. (High praise, that.) Weirder still is that it starts out in the Lock, Stock mold: Conman Jake Green (Jason Statham) gets out of prison, holding a grudge against casino owner Macha (Ray Liotta). There are mutterings of revenge, and slick montages, and Statham glares, and his ripe voiceover makes Sin City feel understated. It's fine, if derivative, but then it all, quite simply, goes off the rails: Halfway in, Ritchie bewilderingly starts including cartoon versions of his characters, Liotta gets schizophrenic and naked, everyone in the cast (including a genuinely awful André 3000 and that "Big Pussy" Sopranos dude) starts to look profoundly confused, plot twists pile up, and ultimately, a gang of psychologists and psychiatrists (including, yes, Deepak Chopra) directly address the audience, painstakingly explaining Revolver's message.
But even as everything in Revolver obliviously crumbles, there's some joy—one senses that Ritchie, at least, is genuinely enjoying this (whatever the hell this is), and with its bold, bright cinematography, Revolver's surreal world is pretty to look at, if nothing else. But style and self-satisfaction only go so far; sure, there's a lurid enjoyment in watching Revolver implode, but the fun's constrained once you realize there's little to justify the confusion.
That said, allow me to suggest that Deepak Chopra offer his thoughts at the end of every film. I find myself curious about his ideas, and eager to learn more.