Follow TV Tropes


Film / Revolver (2005)

Go To
"You can only become smarter by playing a smarter opponent."

Revolver is a 2005 Psychological Thriller by Guy Ritchie.

Two years after getting out of prison, Jake Green (Jason Statham) seeks revenge on casino boss Dorothy Macha (Ray Liotta) who put him there. Macha orders his assassination, but Green is saved by two mysterious loan sharks. Massive Mind Screw ensues.

Has nothing to do with The Beatles' album of the same name.

"Your mind will not accept a trope this big.":

  • Ambiguous Ending: Does the ending mean that Zach and Avi/Jake's cellmates never existed except in his head, or are they really people who got a chance to realize his problems with his ego while they were in jail together and launched a Batman Gambit to snap him out of it?
  • Arc Number: The number 32 comes up repeatedly. The lift that Jake enters near the end of the movie has buttons for 32 floors. As per Ritchie's commentary:
    The chess game has many mystical meanings. The Temple of Solomon was chequered like a chessboard, which has 64 squares and 32 pieces...32 floors: 32 vertebrae in your back, 32 teeth in your mouth, 32 chess pieces on a chessboard. On the same lift, the floor seems to be stuck between the 12 and the 14 floor placing Jake on the 13 floor.
  • Batman Gambit: Zach, Avi and Jake all specialise in these. "The more control the victim thinks he has, the less control he actually has." Essentially, their plans revolve around giving their victims just enough rope to hang themselves.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Jake Green, who has claustrophobia, battles his ego when he gets trapped in an elevator. What follows is a scene that looks straight out of the last episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Big Bad: Dorothy Macha is this, being the primary antagonist to Jake Green.
  • Chain-Link Fence: Jake escapes over a wooden fence and his pursuer tries to follow him with a shotgun in one hand. He drops it. Ouch.
  • Chess Motifs: Quite frequently, with the similarity between chess and cons being a pervasive theme.
  • Claustrophobia: Jake is claustrophobic as a result of spending seven years and solitary confinement and hates riding in elevators.
  • Cold Sniper: Sorter, quite frequently.
  • Color Motifs: The main character is named Jake Green, because according to Ritchie, the color green is the central column of the spectrum. Meanwhile, Dorothy Macha is seen in blue and Lord Wu is seen in red.
    Ritchie: Blood is red, and blood belongs next to black. So, there's three columns: green is central column, white is right column, black is left column. Everything manifests in processes of three, so you've got: proton, neutron, electron; Sun, Earth, Moon; masculine, feminine, child. Wherever you're going to go, you're going to see a manifestation of '3'. So you've got Zach (or "Isaac"), Avi and Jake: a process of three. They represent positive, negative and filament, where Jake is the central column. Blood is red, which belongs to the left column, black is extreme left column. So it's the idea that white blood cells are 'mercy', and red blood cells are 'judgement'. Right is positive and left is negative.
  • Driven to Suicide: Macha, once he realises he has nothing and nobody anymore.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Sorter, who goes on a rampage against his own gang in order to stop them killing a child.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Knowing that Zach and Avi were Jake's neighbours in prison, and thus really have been conning him all along, lends a very different perspective to the first half of the film in particular.
  • Enemy Civil War: Avi, Zeke and Jake start one between the gangs of Macha and Lord John.
  • Enemy Within: All the main characters are essentially fighting this battle. Jake, Avi, Zach and Sorter succeed in rejecting the ego's rules. Macha does not and succumbs to it.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Sorter plays it straight but subverts it at the end, having completed his spiritual awakening. He proves to be exactly as dangerous an enemy to Macha as he was an ally.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Mach, once he realises that he cannot conquer his ego.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The scary, all-knowing crime lord Sam Gold is a subversion. He's ultimately revealed to be powerless, only having anything because of what people invest in him, with the investors actually controlling everything.
  • Heel–Face Turn:Sorter, a result of a gradual spiritual awakening that begins with his failed assassination attempt on Green at the start of the film, and culminated in refusing an order to kill a litle girl.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Sorter shoots his fellow henchmen rather than watch them hurt a little girl.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Sorter. In one scene, when he decides that he wants to get rid of the henchmen, he blows a hole through the wall to kill one guy.
  • Jerkass: Barring Jake, everyone else is this to varying degrees with Lord John close to the top of the list, being an obnoxious, murderous gangster who treats his closest friends like garbage.
  • Karmic Death: Sorter uses a bullet to prevent the sociopathic Paul from killing a little girl, along with most of the rest of the gang thereafter. Though the fact that it's a clean death undermines the associated karma, as Paul gave in life far worse to many of his victims.
  • MacGuffin: Macha's drugs, which serve as a mechanism for the conflict only.
  • Meaningful Name: Mr. Green and Mr. Gold are both incredibly rich.
  • Medium Blending: The film has one scene in which the events and aftermath of a heist are shown in cartoon form, on a TV, during the heist!
  • Mind Screw: Very, very much so.
  • No One Sees the Boss: Sam Gold. He does exist. Kinda. But he's all in your head. Sorta. He's in everybody's heads. Metaphorically True. And he's also Satan. Maybe. This movie is weird like that.
  • The Plan: Zach and Avi seem pretty good at these
  • Ponzi: How Jake makes his money back once out of prison.
  • Porn Stache: Jake's got one.
  • Posthumous Character: The Three Eddies are all dead before the events of the story begin, their role in the plot being explained via flashback and exposition.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:Sorter goes on one after finally conquering his ego. This does not end well for Macha's gang.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The movie is rife with references to Kabbalic faith. For example Avi, Zach and Jake are named after the three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and each character represents one of the three pillars in Kabbalah.
  • Scary Black Man: Paul, Macha's Dragon, a remorseless torturer and assassin.
  • The Sociopath: Paul. Also Lord John.
  • Shadow Dictator: It's never really stated whether Sam Gold really exists. He has no power, one way or the other.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Sorter's plot is ultimately this.He refuses to shoot the little girl, kills Paul and Macha's entire gang, only for Slim Biggins to put a bullet in his head after he think's he's killed the last of them. The girl is still captured and her father presumably killed. Downplayed though in that the demise of the entire Macha's gang seems to be a major factor in his eventual suicide.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Jake and Avi do so frequently.
  • Steal the Surroundings: Used when Avi, Zeke and Jake steal Macha's safe where the drugs are being kept. The safe is stated to be nigh-impenetrable, so they just rip it right out of the wall and take their sweet time breaking into it later.
  • Tactful Translation: There's a scene where Lord John endlessly abuses Macha's men in Cantonese, while the translator expresses this in very to the point and non-offensive words.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sorter is clearly uncomfortable about Paul's interrogation techniques. When he complains, the bad guy threatens him with "Question me again, Sorter, and we will have a falling out.". They do indeed have a falling out.
  • The Unseen: Sam Gold is repeatedly referred to but never seen. This reflects the fact that he doesn't exist in any real sense; all his power is an illusion created by his investors.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Jake's version of how the Three Eddies met their deaths is inaccurate - Zeke and Avi provide the correct version later.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Macha, during the climax of the film, where he points a gun at Jake and threatens to kill him, only to burst into tears.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Jake's line "Shine on, you crazy diamond".
  • What's In It For Me?: This is a recurring question Macha keeps asking, as show by his insatiable greed. He even lectures others on importance of always getting something out of any given deal, no matter how small, just to show that you're the boss.
  • Writer on Board: The film seemed set to be the next awesome Guy Ritchie crime film, but what had appeared at first to be a rather promising plot eventually turned out to be a Mind Screwy delivery system for the Kabbalistic beliefs Ritchie picked up during his marriage to Madonna.

Alternative Title(s): Revolver