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Snatch

Reviewed By MP Bartley
Posted 01/10/02 02:24:45

"Lock Stock the re-run"
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Can you.Imagine.If I wrote.Every Sentence.Like this.And.Not only that.Some Words.I would spell out.Like.Int.Eres.Tingly.It.Would get.Pretty irritating.Wouldn't it?

...which is a stumbling block if you want to enjoy Snatch, because EVERY character speaks like that, enunciating every word with a capital letter. Guy Ritchie may want to have his lap-top looked at as it appears that the caps lock may be broken.

'Snatch' is Ritchies follow up to his successful crime caper 'Lock,Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'. It was a movie that re-invigorated the British film scene and thrust Ritchie into the role of British movie makings great hope. Well, he'd better prove that he's more than a one trick pony, as Snatch is nothing more that a re-hash (emphasis on the hash) of 'Lock,Stock...'

Plotwise, we're concerned with a diamond being stolen in London and being passed around various groups of British, American and Russian gangsters. Also involved in this are two boxing promoters, an Irish gypsy (Brad Pitt) and a viscious ganglord. Now if this sounds convoluted, it is. But hey, who doesn't want to have a bit of a plot to get their teeth into? Indeed, all credit to Ritchie for assuming his audience has a brain and giving them a story that actually makes their brain work, rather than let them stare vacantly at the screen.
Unfortunately no one character is ever given centre stage to focus the plot around.'Lock,Stock...' was also convoluted but had four main characters that all the action related to.'Snatch' doesn't. We have Turkish and Tommy;the boxing promoters, with Mickey "One-Punch" O'Neill (Brad Pitt.More on him later) Brick Top the afore mentioned ganglord, Frankie Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro),Boris The Blade, Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones.Again, more on him later) and many other characters whose chief characteristic is a 'funny' name. It's like the characters out of Cluedo and just leaves the viewer dis-orientated and uninterested in anyone.

It's unfair to compare a film makers second feature to his first if his debut was an outstanding success, but Ritchie seems to have little interest in making any progress. It's 'Lock,Stock' in a slightly different order with different names. It's impossible to review 'Snatch' without harking back to 'Lock, Stock' because Ritchie can't step away himself. And whereas 'Lock,Stock' had a sustained balance of humour and violence, 'Snatch' doesn't. The funny moments are never funny enough, and the violence is out of place and make the whole film unsure of it's tone.

I mentioned at the top of the review the annoying way that everyone talks here.Another annoying feature is the way everyone has to state or question the obvious. Who actually talks like this? I've been to London several times, and they certainly don't. Can you imagine breakfast at the Pitt household if they did:

Jennifer Anniston: Good morning, darling!

Brad Pitt: Good morning darling?! And what.Is good. About this morning?

Jennifer:Why you've just received your script for 'The Devils Own 2:The Pouge Mahone Years', and there's your breakfast!

Brad: Breakfast?! And what.Is that?

Jennifer:Eggs!

Brad:Eggs?!Eggs?! Did I ask for eggs? I do.Not think so.Jen.Nif.Er

And so on and so on...

Now because 'Lock,Stock' was so successful, Ritchie was able to get some Hollywood presence involved, leading to the presence of Pitt. But Ritchie gets him to deliver his performance in an unintelligble Irish accent. Ritchie obviously thinks this is hilarious, but he again is out of touch with the audience who are more likely to be saying, "What did he say? Are the speakers fucked in here? Is Brad pissed?". It just smacks of in-joke, which sums 'Snatch' up. It's one huge, smug joke on it's own power trip, convinced everyone loves it. But it's wrong.

Take the casting of Vinnie Jones as hardman Bullet Tooth Tony.Jones was formally a British sportsman, low on talent...but hard.Ritchie first cast him in 'Lock,Stock' in a move which made everyone think "Vinnie Jones?That's funny,ha ha, we like that". But since then Jones has come under the delusion that he can actually act and is an actor, hence playing the same part (flat,monotonous delivery)in films like this Swordfish and this that are now making people say "Vinnie Jones? Ha...ha...piss off Vinnie".

Now it's not all bad. Get past the irritating delivery and there's some wit in the script. It's also never boring to look at with Ritchies whizz-bang direction. However Ritchie puts so much flash in his direction, to overcome the films basic shortcomings, that he lacks restraint. There's just no substance to it, and he's running before he can even walk. He comes across as a final year student film-maker desperatley trying to impress his tutor by showing him all the tricks he can do, without ever thinking about whether he should do them.
It has the same effect as asking for a cocktail and the barman putting every conceivable spirit in:liable to give you a headache, feeling sick and screaming "No!No more!Just one thing at a time!"

Ritchie is a genuinely exciting prospect as a director/screenwriter. But he needs to escape the cocoon he's built himself as Mr.Madonna and stop believing his hype.

Stop casting Vinnie Jones and major stars in unsuitable parts 'for a laugh'.Stop the injokes and self-congratulation.Stop the masturbation in the edit suite. And start building on his promise

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