The latest Guy Ritchie gangster masterclass “Wrath of Man” has recently dropped! Based on the 2004 French film “Le Convoyeur” (“Cash Truck”), Guy Ritchie has joined with writers, Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies for a unique reimagining of the classic heist movie.
The reunion with Jason Statham as the film’s protagonist is also a welcome return to our screens. You can catch “Wrath of Man” on Amazon Prime and other VOD platforms, now!
Guy Ritchie reunited with his long-time friend and colleague, Jason Statham to cast his protagonist – the mysterious ‘H’, a cash truck driver in Los Angeles with a secret motive: revenge.
After his feature film debut in “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” (1998) with Guy Ritchie, Statham delivers another trademark performance as they continue to tackle the action-thriller niche.
Holt McCallany plays Bullet, a former soldier and the lead cash truck driver at Fortico Security who appears cheerful on the surface but harbours his own secrets. Previously starring in the “Mindhunter” series (2017-2019) as Bill Tench, McCallany is perfectly cast as Bullet as he fills the role with humour and depth.
Scott Eastwood plays Jan, a braggadocious, greedy cash truck robber who lacks any moral compass. His character serves as H’s nemesis after he took what the protagonist holds dearest. Having acted in “Pacific Rim: Uprising” (2018) and “Diablo” (2015), his striking on screen aesthetic invites us to root against his character’s barbarity.
Jeffrey Donovan plays Jackson, the leader of the cash truck robbers and a meticulous planner of the group’s ambitious heists. With his extensive stints on TV in “Law & Order” (1995-2022) and “Burn Notice” (2007-2013), his neat and tidy exterior fits the role of the genius heist planner in “Wrath of Man”.
Eddie Marsan plays Terry Ross, the empathetic Fortico Security boss with a concern for his staff’s wellbeing. This was another relationship that Guy Ritchie resurrected for this film as Marsan had acted in “The Gentlemen” (2019) as Big Dave and ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (2009) as Inspector Lestrade. His character in “Wrath of Man” provides a softer approach to the aggressive, masculine world of cash truck robbery.
A final mention should also go to Post Malone who plays a young amateur cash truck robber who foolishly walks into robbing H’s truck. After his role in “Spenser Confidential” (2020) as Squeeb, Guy Ritchie brought him onboard and cites the positive influence that the artist had on set.
The film opens cold on a violent cash truck robbery that goes askew before we meet Patrick Hill (‘H’) who starts work at Fortico Security as a cash truck driver. On his second day, his cash truck is robbed and his advanced skill set surfaces, killing 6 criminals and saving Bullet’s life.
When the truck gets robbed again, but this time the perpetrators flee the scene after recognising H, it becomes apparent that his history extends beyond what his resume admits…
H’s ulterior motive emerges as he vies to find the cash truck robbers who killed his son. It is at this point, we become privy to his true identity as one of the most vicious crime bosses around.
As the cash truck robbers responsible for the murder plot one final heist, H’s world and theirs draws ever closer through the deceit, corruption, and violence of the cash truck world.
“Wrath of Man” jumps around in time, which is nothing new to Guy Ritchie’s filmmaking style but we have never seen him dramatize a non-linear plot quite like this.
In contrast to “The Gentlemen” (2019), which is a chaotic collage of his characters’ colourful lives, his latest film only jumps a handful of times. The poignancy of these few jumps is powerful though, as they all centre around the plot’s real inciting incident: H’s son’s murder.
The film entices you by withholding information about the mysterious protagonist. Just as we discover his hidden combat skills, our attention is diverted elsewhere.
It is only over the course of the multiple timelines at play do we uncover the whole mosaic of his gangster lifestyle, his fake identity, and his tragic motivations for seeking revenge.
This is something that Guy Ritchie has a knack for nailing – drip-feeding just enough intel that he keeps provoking new questions.
Not Your Typical Heist (or Guy Ritchie) Movie…
The heist genre has a habit of giving us a flawed protagonist with a ‘want’, a ‘need’, and a love interest. “Wrath of Man” presents only one goal: revenge. Guy Ritchie was conscious of the preordained conventions of his genre and chose to combine it with a volatile revenge narrative.
The nature of the film also departs from Ritchie’s usual style. We’re accustomed to the snappy one-liner dialogue of “Snatch” (2000), and the witty re-imagination of “Sherlock Holmes” (2009).
“Wrath of Man” is different though. It does contain traces of humour, but it’s far from funny. The tragedy at the heart of the story taps into deep human suffering. Ritchie chose perhaps the most painful motivation for revenge he could with the murder of a child.
We root for H in spite of his murderous past but not because we want him to get the girl and ride off into the Nevada Desert like a Danny Ocean. We do so because he has suffered unimaginable pain that can still be imagined.
But “I will execute vengeance in anger and wrath…”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Guy Ritchie movie without a generous helping of action-packed violence. As much as the film’s content is emotionally provocative, Ritchie still delivers what it says on the tin: wrath!
Action scenes are dominated by firefights rather than fistfights but still get the blood pumping. With many of the action sequences stemming from hostage situations, they burst onto the screen after huge build ups of tension.
Particularly enjoyable is Jason Statham’s performance during many of the ‘shoot-em-up’ scenes.
He is a trained and certainly skilled actor when it comes to handling his own wrath. His ability to reload a handgun in one take, making it look as if he’s been a contract killer for years, gives his gunfight scenes smooth transitions and authenticity.
On the face of it, “Wrath of Man” was simply the next instalment in the Guy Ritchie cinematic universe; guns, cars, and gangsters. After watching it, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Despite it still being within his wheelhouse, he clearly edged out of his comfort zone. With little humour to fall back on, it came down to designing a protagonist and a plot that could stand on their own and he certainly delivered.
I think that the depth of H’s motivation is where the film finds its success. Without such an unpalatable incident driving the plot, this could have been filed with the many heist movies preceding it. However, the relatability of the protagonist’s loss endears us to the character, and his mission.
“Wrath of Man” encourages a deeper empathetic response than maybe any of Ritchie’s previous films and for that, the film should be commended. Be prepared to have your expectations of the heist genre exceeded.
- “In summary, the liver, the lungs, the spleen, and the heart.” – H
- “I like the way you handle that cart. Where’d you learn that technique?” – Bullet
- “I spent a lot of time at supermarkets. Shopping.” – H (in reply)
- “You good?” – Bullet
- “Yeah. Why, don’t I look it?” – H (in reply)
- “No, buddy. You look like a shrink-wrapped Rolls Royce, in contrast to this car crash.” – Bullet (in reply)
- Most of the interior scenes were filmed in England but are supposed to emulate LA. In the bar scene where H plays pool, two fruit machines are visible – these are illegal under US law and are only found in the UK.
- When filming ended for “Wrath of Man”, Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham wanted to spend more time working together. So rather than spending another few weeks on reshoots as an excuse, they decided to simply make another film together. This is what led to Statham’s casting in “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre” (set to release in March, 2022).
- “Wrath of Man” is the fourth film that Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham have made together.
- In the film’s final shot, the number plate on the car Jason Statham drives is ‘211 PCE’. 211 is the California Penal Code for a robbery.