Revolver (2005 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Produced by Luc Besson
Virginie Silla
Marty Katz
Written byGuy Ritchie
Luc Besson
Starring Jason Statham
Ray Liotta
Vincent Pastore
André Benjamin
Mark Strong
Terrence Maynard
Francesca Annis
Music by Nathaniel Méchaly
Cinematography Tim Maurice Jones
Edited byJames Herbert
Ian Differ
Romesh Aluwihare
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group
Release date
  • 11 September 2005 (2005-09-11)(Toronto International Film Festival)
  • 22 September 2005 (2005-09-22)(United Kingdom)
  • 28 September 2005 (2005-09-28)(France)
Running time
110 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
Budget £14 [1] / 20 [2] / $27 million [1]
Box office$6.7 million [3]

Revolver is a 2005 British-French crime thriller film co-written and directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore and André Benjamin. The film centres on a revenge-seeking confidence trickster whose weapon is a universal formula that guarantees victory to its user, when applied to any game or confidence trick.


This is the fourth feature film by Ritchie and his third to centre on crime and professional criminals, but also has a strong philosophy and buddhist moral content. It was released in UK theatres on 22 September 2005. It performed poorly at the box office and received negative reviews but has gained a small cult following among fans of Ritchie's previous crime films. A reworked version [4] was released to a limited number of US theatres on 7 December 2007. [5]


Dorothy Macha (Ray Liotta) is a gang boss involved in illegal gambling all over the city. With the help of three goons, known as "the three Eddies", he controls several games that take place in the criminal underground. On one occasion, just before a big game, Macha loses his card man. Having no other options, Macha asks for help from Jake Green (Jason Statham), a card man with a good reputation underground. When Jake refuses, they harass Jake's brother Billy (Andrew Howard) and Billy's family to convince Jake to play. He succumbs and plays the game, which he ends up winning. The loser, a high roller named George, insults Jake's mother and Jake responds by shooting him in the foot, igniting a gunfight in which the game's money vanishes.

The police investigation is leading nowhere until Jake's name is mentioned and he is brought in for questioning. Taking precautionary measures, Macha sends the three Eddies to Billy's house where they threaten his niece. Billy's wife reacts poorly in the situation and is accidentally shot. Jake does not give Macha's name to the police, in order to protect Billy and his family, and is sentenced to prison. He is given a choice to either spend 14 years in the general prison population or 7 years in solitary confinement. He chooses the latter.

During his seven-year stint imprisoned in solitary confinement, Jake learns of a specific strategy (referred to as "The Formula") that is supposed to let its user win every game. The Formula itself was discovered by two unnamed men who inhabited adjacent cells on either side of Jake's own. They are referred to as a chess expert and a con man. During the first five years of his seven-year sentence, the three men communicate their thoughts on confidence tricks and chess moves via messages hidden inside library books, such as The Mathematics of Quantum Mechanics .

The chess expert and the con man plan to leave their cells simultaneously, and promise to take Jake with them. But when they disappear from their cells, they leave Jake behind to serve the remaining two years of his sentence. When Jake is released, he finds that all of his possessions and money have been taken by the two men with whom he had shared everything. Still, he has The Formula, and he goes about making a lot of money at various casinos. Two years later, Jake has garnered a reputation that leads many casinos to fear his freakishly good 'luck', and he is blacklisted by many casinos. The Formula applies to any game, and is often exemplified by Jake's apparent mastery of chess.

Approximately two years after his prison release, Jake, Billy and their other brother Joe walk into one of Macha's casinos. He is recognised and "all the tables are closed" to Jake and his company. But Macha promptly calls them up to a private area of his casino where a high rollers' game is currently taking place. Jake bets Macha a fortune on a chip toss, and wins. This hurts Macha. As Jake says "nothing hurts more than humiliation and a little money loss". Macha suspects that Jake, who seems unafraid of him, will be out for more revenge. As Jake and his brothers leave the casino, a man hands Jake a card and tells him that he can help him. Jake, who has a fear of enclosed spaces, decides to take the stairs. In the stairwell he looks at the card and then collapses, falling down the stairs. The card is revealed to read "Take the Elevator". Jake is rushed to the hospital. The doctors report he is very ill but do not disclose why he had the blackout.

Macha puts out an order for a hit on Jake. Jake arrives home, without Billy, where Macha's assassin is waiting for him. However, on his doorstep there is another card, which says "Pick This Up". As Jake bends to retrieve the card bullets fly over his back. As the shooting continues, the same mysterious individual called Zach (Vincent Pastore) arrives and rescues Jake, who is the only person to survive the hit. Zach introduces Jake to his partner, Avi (André Benjamin). They offer him a deal: they will take all of his money and he will do what they say, no questions asked. In exchange, they will protect Jake from Macha. In the course of their proposal, they show Jake his medical file, which they have mysteriously obtained. It indicates that the blackout occurred due to a rare blood disease which will cause his death within three days. Jake suspects a con. The mysterious men later reveal that his money will be used to fund their loan shark enterprise.

Sam Gold is seen to be the 'king' in this chess game of gang warfare. He is the ultimate figure that all men are supposedly aspiring to be. Sam Gold is revealed to be an ultimately powerless cipher, whose power is granted only by those who invest in him. He represents ego and self-investment. He is the personification of greed.

Three days after he found out about his disease and working with Avi and Zach, Jake goes to a physician again, and it is revealed that the original diagnosis was wrong and that he has more time to live. Meanwhile, Macha is attacked by 2 assassins from a rival gang, one disguised as a waitress. Macha loses a finger but manages to kill the fake waitress, while Macha's hitman Sorter (Mark Strong) kills the other assassin. Afterward, Sorter kills all the other rival gang members. Jake's brother Billy is betrayed by his bodyguards, who let in all the Macha's men (including Sorter) in Billy's home. Macha's men torture Billy and threaten to kill Billy's daughter in order to find out where Jake is, but these acts cause Sorter to find his conscience, so he kills all his companions.

Jake demands answers from Avi and Zach, who only cryptically tell Jake that his worst enemy is himself. While they are in Macha's casino, Avi attempts to get Jake to understand the nature of the ego. He tells Jake "the greatest con that [the ego] ever pulled was making you believe that he is you." This is seen to be the 'ultimate con', in that no one wants to sever their connection with their ego, because they refuse to challenge their own lifelong investment in it. Jake goes to Macha's bedroom, where he is sleeping, and asks an almost naked Macha for forgiveness. Jake then enters an elevator that gets stuck at the 13th floor. While waiting in the elevator, Jake has a conversation in his mind in which he rejects his ego.

By doing this, Jake steps off the proverbial chess board by making a conscious effort to reverse everything his ego tells him to do. This is seen to be the truest and most fundamental application of the Formula. The characters of Jake, Zach, Avi and Sorter ultimately reject the ego's 'rules'. The character of Dorothy Macha is seen to succumb to them. As Jake is about to leave the building, Macha holds him at gunpoint, but a calm Jake just walks past Macha as he freezes, cries, and feebly tells Jake to fear him, consumed by his ego. It is revealed that Avi and Zach were Jake's "neighbours" during his years of incarceration. They have forced Jake to "induce head pain to engage the enemy" by making him give his money away under the principle that "nothing hurts more than humiliation and a little money loss". They are inflicting this form of 'premature enlightenment' upon Jake because, according to them, he was not ready to hear how hard this process of liberation was going to be while in prison. It was because of this that they left without him.

Monologue of Jake Green about the ego: "There is something about yourself that you don't know. Something that you will deny even exists until it's too late to do anything about it. It's the only reason you get up in the morning, the only reason you suffer the shitty boss, the blood, the sweat and the tears. This is because you want people to know how good, attractive, generous, funny, wild and clever you really are. "Fear or revere me, but please think I'm special. We share an addiction. We're approval junkies. We're all in it for the slap on the back and the gold watch. The ‘hip, hip, hoo-fucking-rah.’ Look at the clever boy with the badge, polishing his trophy. Shine on, you crazy diamond. Cos we're just monkeys wrapped in suits, begging for the approval of others."



Guy Ritchie was, during the time of conceiving and executing the film, interested in Kabbalah. [6] The film itself is laced with references to Kabbalistic ideas, symbols and numerological references. [7]

The trinity of Zach (either from Hebrew זְכַרְיָה Zechariah ′Yah has remembered′ or יִצְחָק Yitskhak [Isaac] '[he] will laugh'), Jake (from Hebrew יַעֲקֹב Yaʿaqov [Jacob] from the root עקב ʿqb 'to follow', 'to be behind', 'to supplant', 'circumvent', 'assail', 'overreach') and Avi (Hebrew אֲבִי ′my father′) are representative of Kabbalistic right, centre and left pillar energies, respectively. Avi is a black man who is somewhat effeminate in his physical appearance, clothing and mannerisms.[ citation needed ] The 'left pillar' or 'left column' in Kabbalistic traditions is often associated with 'the feminine' and with the colour black. Jake's surname is "Green", and the colour green is associated with Netzach, the sphere ruled by Venus (Love) on the Tree of Life. Zach is a hefty, gargantuan, white man who 'dresses down' in a very archetypically 'masculine' way. Both masculinity and the colour white are associated with right column or right pillar energies in Kabbalistic traditions. [8]

The number 32 comes up repeatedly. "The chess game has many mystical meanings. The Temple of Solomon was chequered like a chessboard, which has 64 squares and 32 pieces." [9] The lift that Jake enters near the end of the movie has buttons for 32 floors. [10] The dollar bills shown in Jack's money bags have a denomination of 23.


Revolver: Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
various artists
Released17 October 2005
Genre Film score
Acid jazz
Electronic music
Contemporary classical music
Label Recall Music For Films
Guy Ritchie film soundtracks chronology
Swept Away
Revolver: Original Soundtrack

According to director Guy Ritchie, the music for the film was initially intended to follow in a similar vein to his previous crime movies, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch , in that it was to be primarily source-based (i.e. using non-original music). Those source tracks would all have been classical in nature. However, during the production process, Ritchie changed his mind and decided to score a majority of the film with original music, leaving only some small sections to non-original music tracks (such as the restaurant shoot-out during Lord John's attempted assassination of Dorothy Maccha). Ritchie selected Nathaniel Mechaly to compose the score. [11]

The score was performed by Mechaly on Mini Moog and other keyboards, with drummer Maxime Garoute. [12]

All tracks composed by Nathaniel Mechaly and Maxime Garoute except where otherwise noted.

  1. "Revolver" – 03:58
  2. "Later That Night" – 02:02
  3. "Atom's Tomb" (Electrelane) – 02:11
  4. "The Heist" – 02:52
  5. "Fear Me" – 03:42
  6. "Mucchio Selvaggio" (Ennio Morricone, performed by 2raumwohnung) – 05:06
  7. "Chess Room" – 02:03
  8. "Sorter Shoot Out" – 01:56
  9. "Purple Requiem" – 04:00
  10. "3 Eddie Story" – 02:40
  11. "End Casino" – 02:50
  12. "Opera" (from Antonio Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus , third movement, performed by Emmanuel Santarromana) – 04:03
  13. "Casino" – 01:54
  14. "Jack Accident" – 02:02
  15. "The Mental Traveler" – 04:08
  16. "To Never Miss" – 01:18
  17. "Ask Yourself" (Plastikman) – 08:51
  18. "Gnossienne No. 1" (from Erik Satie performed by Alessandra Celletti) – 04:18
  19. "Metropolitan" (Emmanuel Santarromana) – 3:18

Home media

Extras featuring director Guy Ritchie.
Aspect ratio
Regional format


Critical response

The film was generally panned by critics: for example, it has been criticized on grounds of pretension and having an over-complicated plot by critics such as Mark Kermode. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 15% based on reviews from 67 critics, with an average score of 3.50/10. The consensus reads, "In attempting to meld his successful previous formulas with philosophical musings, Guy Ritchie has produced an incoherent misfire." [13] Reviews were so poor in the UK that The Guardian ran a story on how the distributor managed to attribute a quotation to The Sun saying that the director was "back to his best". The quotation came from a section of the Sun Online website created by a PR agency on behalf of the film's distributors. [14]

There are some positive reviews as well. Mark R. Leeper conceded that it was "a film for a narrow audience", but said that he personally rather "liked it" and gave it a score of 7/10. [15] According to Brian Orndorf, Revolver "is the perfect movie for those who like to crack things open and dig around the innards", saying that it "reminded [him] quite a bit of Richard Kelly's film, Donnie Darko ". He goes on to explain that "both films have a taste for the deliberately confusing, sharing scripts that take the viewer on a ride that requires much more than one simple viewing." [16]

Box office

As of 20 December 2005 the film had grossed $6,811,925. [17]

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  1. 1 2
  3. Revolver at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved9 October 2009.
  4. 1 2 "Madonna and Richie push Revolver in US, San Francisco Chronicle , 27 November 2007
  5. "Revolver showtimes and locations". Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  6. "Guy Ritchie's Kabbalah movie". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  7. Mark Webster. ""As early as 2003 Ritchie encountered trouble finding a studio to support Revolver. References to Kabbalah in the script made studios like Sony back off. Kabbalah has a reputation as a cult, they feared. .."". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  8. "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." – Guy Ritchie, Revolver DVD commentary.
  9. Guy Ritchie, Revolver DVD Commentary
  10. "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." – Guy Ritchie, Revolver DVD commentary.
  11. See Revolver: Making The Music by Jesse Salto.
  12. "Revolver- Soundtrack details". Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  13. "Revolver" . Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  14. Silver, James (3 October 2005). "How to flog a turkey". Guardian Unlimited . London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  15. "Revolver comes off like Jim Thompson crossed with Philip K. I liked it, because of the audacious solution, but I suspect that not many other people will agree". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 23 September 2017.[ permanent dead link ]
  16. " – Reviews – Revolver". Archived from the original on 6 January 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  17. Revolver at Box Office Mojo