Another Revolver explanation

Guy Ritchie's Revolver ft. Jason StathamFor the last month or so, I’ve been getting a lot of traffic and comments from people who have seen Guy Ritchie’s Revolver and are still looking for a “revolver explanation“.

So I’m on the verge of introducing a new category called … yep, you got it – Revolver Explanations. The new category will be dedicated to all kinds of second-guesses and wild speculations. All (3) of my Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham fans should be happy now.

On a second thought, maybe I should finally launch the Great Movies category and start reviewing some of my favorites. I’m split …

10 thoughts on “Another Revolver explanation

  1. Prometheus

    I gues I am a bit too late to get someone to read this post or to be interested at all however I have seen Revolver a couple of weeks ago and am not one of the people who think it’s a bad movie only because it is difficult to understand. So I tried to make sense of it and would be happy if anyone would comment on my ideas.
    On the internet I have read the explanation that the plot is a big chess game – a picture. Although I kinda like the idea I find it a bit difficult to agree. Nelly Walker as Queen with her “servants” as pawns is convincing but the rest…it doesn’t really make sense.I really like the devil-angel idea (see the post by steve on http://www.filmdailies.com/archives/review-revolver/ ). Nevertheless I personally tend to the Fight Club- A Beautiful Mind-explanation. I prefer to see Gold as a metaphor for greed, egoism etc (nothing new and by the way not far away from the devil-esplanation if you interpret the devil as an evil principle in human nature). It is as Jack says: You want people to know how “good, funny, clever etc you really are”. This principle has ruled over Jack for all the years.
    In prison he develops two new characters: Zack and Avi. In the elevator-scene Gold (I assume it is Gold fighting Jack) refers to him as “old friend” in opposite to the “new friends” Zack and Avi. And isn’t it believable that you develop a schizophrenia in seven years solitary? Especially when you are such a “clever bastard” as Jack? On the other hand: When he tells Zack and Avi about the two prisoners in the other cells: How can he possibly know who they are? After all he is in solitary and: the trick with the books…it’s simply not possible. And when the two “break out”: Why would the authorities search Jack’s room? And why can’t they find “evidence of their existence”? When they look for convicts they should know they exist, shouldn’t they? After all these hints comes the final prove by Avi:”We didn’t do this because we like, we did this because we are you.”
    These two “new friends” help him against Gold. They make him give away his money and this is the key to get rid of Gold. In the elevator he confronts him (and wins). Macha on the other side does not confront Gold so in the end he dies because of his fear of him.

    However I can’t find the answers to these questions:
    -Why are there only 12$ notes in the movie?
    -If Gold does not exist as a person but only as a principle (might as well call it devil…) then who is Nelly Walker? Who does she work for?
    -Am I trying to hard to find a rational explanation for all this stuff?

    Now I hope, somebody will notice this comment at all…

  2. Zeus

    I’ve just seen the film today, and feel like I’ve arrived late at the party. Unfortunately the internet is full of people either wailing for an explanation or saying all sorts of things about it being an “amazingly ambitious film” and that you “need to work out for yourself”. I don’t think these people have any idea either.

    I enjoy complicated films, and even ones I’ve had to watch again. I thought The Usual Suspects and Memento (nice twists, still easy to understand) as well as Primer and Mulhulland Drive (both a lot foggier) were all great. The DVD extras to Revolver have all this drivel about “the concept” which was so pretentious I couldn’t watch it.

    I like the idea about Gold being the devil, or perhaps more accurately, human greed. This fits quite nicely with Statham giving all his money away and then being able to face Gold down in the elevator scene – although the concept of him dumping tons of cash in a Childrens home or whatever is rather simplistic, and given that it was dirty money in the first place – wrongheaded.

    Anyway it also appeals because Liotta’s character is obviously “not a good guy” and very materialistic. When it’s his turn to face Gold, he loses.

    The introduction of the two loan sharks poses a problem. Are they angels helping and guiding Statham? This is supported by the fact they “messed with Gold in the past, and he didn’t go after them”. They also know when he will be shot and that he should take the elevator, (leaving nice little notes). Surely supernatural foresight? Or are they two people who have faced their own Gold’s and are helping Statham – they really did escape and come back to save him like they said they would. Or are they figments of his imagination because he went crazy in prison? This third explanation is supported by the fact that Andre3000 says “we are you” at one point. But of course this means the prison guards tore up a cells that never had people in them. Unless their “escape” and the guards were also imagined by Statham, in which case why did his brain decide to let them escape? Nothing is satisfactory. I don’t see anything in the film telling me it’s any of these things for sure. And this I think is the key weakness of Revolver. I am happy to watch a film where some characters are symbolic of something else, or are figments of a characters imagination – but there simply isn’t enough guidence, all I have is a ton of theories.

    Anyway, I totally agree with Prometheus about Walker. That character clearly exists and is real – she represents Gold, but who is she? It undermines the theory that Gold is just the concept of human avarice or the devil. There are plenty of other unanswered questions – why does Liotta kill himself when he “loses” to Gold?, why would the devil or “greed” make someone actually kill themselves? What was the significance of Statham’s mysterious illness? Why does Statham lose to Andre3000 at chess after winning all the time? I assume Andre was losing on purpose “giving his opponant what he wanted” to lure him into a false sense of security. If so, why?

    I’ve seen tons of films and never felt this irritated, I can see why the critics tore it a new arse. I’ll make an appeal for an intelligent explaination, but given a) how few of those are knocking about and b) how long it’s been since the last person added to this catagory – I’m not holding my breath!!!

  3. austrider

    Just watched this for the first time. I do enjoy complicated and complex films, and this one is no exception. I was blown away initially, and had to watch it again to grasp some of the finer meanings and details. I agree with most of the points raised above, but (call me simple?) I actually find the concepts and ideas are reasonably straight forward. Anyway here goes:

    * I am leaning towards all the events happened – ie Jake is not imagining this in his cell and did got released and tricked the 3 Eddies etc.

    * the “opponent” is yourself, more precisely your fear/greed/etc. ie something that’s driving your life and behavior but actually does not represent you in the core

    * Zack and Avi can either be real or imaginative – to me it does not ruin the film either way. In any case it sounds they’ve “been there” and have to face their own “opponents”, just like Jake did. However – it’s likely they figured this out while in jail, and by they time they escaped they were already “free”. They do not feel Jake was ready yet and decided to wait until he’s free (from prison) to teach him how to be free (from himself).

    * I feel the “opponent” differs from Sam Gold – see points below.

    * this opponent differs between people. In Jake it’s greed and revenge, in Macha it’s need for respect/power/control etc. Macha could not face his own failure (ie lack of pride, being perceived as evil, lost of control etc) and killed himself when being prompted.

    * Sam Gold represents Gold/greed for $. He/she definitely controls most/many people in one way or another, and never makes an appearance to enforce that he/she is a primarily a concept. This may be why Walker is introduced. Also agree that Gold represent the King in chess, and Walker is the Queen…(who does all the running around and work)

    * Jake may have developed claustrophobia while in solitude. Anyway it’s while confronting his fear would he be able to battle his opponent (greed).

    * Also Zack and Avi used “loan shark” to get Jake to test himself how low he’d go, or “controlled”, by his greed within 3 days. He survived.

    * Re: how does Zack and Avi know about take the elevator/pick the card up. The first one is easy – they wanted Jake to faint either way, in order to con him that his death is imminent and thus give him a better chance to beat himself. There may be some chemical on the card to make him dizzy/faint. The second card re: pick me up is also pre-calculated by them that Macha would order a hit on him and maybe they know Sorter’s style really well.

    I’m comfortable with most of the scenes – EXCEPT where Walker “handled” a girl while meeting Macha. I suspect there’s a deleted scene somewhere which might explain that further.

    btw I feel it’s a smart delivery of an old idea. Maybe too complicated for most people out there which explains its failure in mainstream. I found it’s beautifully shot and executed and kudos to to Guy. Note to those who compares it with Snatch/Lock etc… it’s pointless to compare. Guy has already done those and has moved onto other more interesting things. Just accept this is a different movie (and it is).

  4. Nickymatrix

    I watched this when it came out and watched again today after a couple of years. I am here now still looking for answers and ideas. Truth is noone has the answer. Period. Its all speculation.

    MY comments? Excellent filmmaking. Horrible fucking movie. People don’t realise it was the “quality” and intensity of the picture and sequences that made it watchable. And if it were any less colorful, NONE of us would have tolerated it.

    Ask Guy for answers. He produced the damn thing.

  5. SBGN

    When it takes more than 4 years to make a movie it’s normal to be challenged as a viewer…This is a MASTERPIECE. I watched it a few times, sometimes scene by scene…I went down your comments and realized that this is why they did IT. Make us work a little bit. It is well presented, there’s a lot in there. – W – is right, but CHESS is the media, how the journey must be approach…TRICKS and TRAPS…feeding the ENEMY.

    ( I moved in a remote area, far away from influences and little treats, it took me a while to understand what I HAVE BECOME…you need all the help you can find (family-friends-your self)when you decide to -get out of prison-, the prison which your EGO (that little voice in you that is not really yours)have built for YOU, protecting it with its own KING (MACHA); part of you which has made a DEAL with the Devil (M.Gold);everyone has its own…sometimes WAR (situation with the Chinese) is the only way to distract the REAL ENEMY, confusion and traps…First you need to realize that you have a problem…(MACHA) once you accept it, you need to confront it ( casino scene-2 years later- ), than you need a F…G good reason to do it because you wont allow your self to do it…so CHOICE need to be put away ( first gun scene where—one of his—get shot)Having no choice ( with a 3 day left to play…play because your are tricking your EGO to do something you are not used to do)but be careful, you need to give your EGO something in the process. Once you have succeeded, the rules can change because, remember, choice is out of reach…so you can only proceed to the next level ( or move ). Your conscience ( ZACK and AVI ), remorse ( SORTER with his feelings problems) will help you through the process but be aware…the KING is very powerful. You need to put your EGO face to face with the KING ( bedroom scene) knowing that the KING is an invention of your EGO. It is not a matter of destroying a part of you, it is only about controlling your SELF and doing the right thing ( not the good thing in this case). Knowing which part of you is the right one is not an easy task ( last scene with AVI—check mate)

    So which part of M.Green is controlling the game…?
    You, your self, can only know.

    ( people/actors are not real, they explain emotions, feelings and mind settings)

    Regards, sorry for my english.

  6. nick

    the publisher is wrong .his explanation is ridiculously small minded. the last entry by sbgn is spot on finally someone gets it. come on guys

  7. SBGN

    The biggest clue the film is giving you about – the war with your self idea – is the hotel scene where M.Green ( Avi & Zack ) bring chaos making sure that THE war will eliminate one side.

    Ask your self… How does M.Green knows about the DEAL ?

    It is only him playing him across the chess board.

  8. Rorschach

    I just watched this movie for the first time.. I realize I’m a bit late finding out about this great movie, but I must say well done SBGN. Great thoughts and explanation on the movie. Now i can stop searching the internet for answers, i feel satisfied.

    “people/actors are not real, they explain emotions, feelings and mind settings”

  9. thecrool

    I am sure that the “colours” are crucial and I think they are in the movie to help us digest the meaning. I think that analysis of the symbolism of each of the colours mentioned in the film can shed a lot of light on what each of the characters symbolize.

    The way I see it:

    The formula given by Avi and Zach is the way to gain true freedom, become human that is not controlled by fear, stress, greed, pride etc. Person without those traits is able to overcome every obstacle – understand the true meaning of life and gain control over his senses. The formula gives you guidelines on how to evolve into that person: confront each of your negative traits, defeat all of your internal enemies.

    “Gold” colour symbolizes illumination, wisdom – Jake becomes Mr. Gold when he finally understands the game – the true meaning of the formula – at the very end of the film. Mr. Gold also represents fear (fear for unknown – nobody knows who is Mr Gold – human fear worst of what’s unknown for them, what they don’t understand – even the worst monster doesn’t seem that scary anymore when you learn everything about it)

    Every negative character/trait(Mr.Green, Macha, Japanese mafia) is afraid of him because ultimately “he is their nemesis” (except Zach and Avi cause “they are him” in fact).

    Avi and Zach are Jakes conscious – true self, undistorted by Jake defects [and therefore weaknesess] (greed etc.) their colour is gold because they lead Jake to the ultimate awareness (Mr. Gold).

    Sorter symbolizes integrity and logic (doing what’s right) he’s the one that “never misses” and “Is always right”. Colour Blue symbolizes integrity that’s why Sorter and Liotta(he symbolizes other blue meanings) are in a way connected. In the film he defeats the Japanese mafia (colour Red) that represents wrath, rage and anger. Logic and rational thinking is the only way to conquer the anger. Sorter (alike Liotta) can’t kill the little girl (white), he is “doing the right thing”.

    Green colour is associated with ambition, greed and jealousy (Jake defeats “Mr. Green” in the elevator when he forgives Liotta character and gives him his money back).

    “White” symbolizes innocence, purity and virginity and is depicted as little girl – Jakes niece.

    “Blue” depicted by Riotta’s character symbolizes power but also softness, cowardice, stress and depression. Jake defeats those traits at the end.

    Black is the absence of colour and symbolizes fear. Black colour is shown at the end of the film. This is the reason why I think there is no credits. If one has no greed, ambition etc. he in fact has nothing to lose and has no fear. By conquering those negative traits Jake has also defeated the fear (he walked into elevator, he was not afraid of Macha in the last scene etc.).

    “There is no avoiding the war, it can only be postponed to the advantage of your enemy” – the earlier a person decides to get free from all those traits the easiest it is to do it (the more wealth and grief you have the harder is to eradicate it)

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