Although Snatch is about gangsters, has a twisted story and uses a lot of the same actors, the film has a very different feel to Guy Ritchie’s debut, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. For starters, it isn’t quite as good. There was freshness to Lock, Stock which is lost in Snatch because we have seen this sort of film before. It isn’t quite Ritchie just repeating himself though.
Snatch feels bigger. The impact of his successful first movie has clearly caught the attention of Hollywood and the more famous feature here. The film starts with Benicio Del Toro robbing a jewellers but along the way will also star fairly famous Brad Pitt, even by 2000 standards.
With bigger stars also comes a new confidence. Ritchie always felt like he was an accomplished storyteller with Lock, Stock but here he takes it up a notch, featuring a tale much more expansive, with higher stakes. This is a tale that involves Americans, Russians, gangsters of the small-time and big time variety and when it comes to Brad Pitt, almost incoherent “Pikeys.”
It is a bold move to cast a well-known Hollywood star and have him speak an Irish dialect which makes most of his dialogue almost incomprehensible. It works though and it is one of the best performances in the film: one filled with already great performances. Pitt is also required to be as intense as we’ve seen him before too, delivering everything from pure rage to cocky swagger.
He isn’t the only person delivering something new from what we’d expect. Alan Ford played “Alan” the narrator in Lock, Stock but here he is the devil incarnate, the purely terrifying Brick-Top. From the moment he is introduced, every scene is stolen by Ford’s scary gangster. Ford manages to make him believable too, not too cartoonish, be it delivering a well-worded threat to Jason Statham’s Turkish or telling a room full of ignorant jewellers how to dispose of bodies.
It isn’t just Ford who gets the good lines either. Snatch is full of Ritchie’s well-written, conversational dialogue. There are a few speeches, Vinnie Jones’ Bullet-Tooth Tony gets a particularly good one, but mostly it is the small, inconsequential lines between characters which will bring a smile to the face and familiarity to the story.
Snatch isn’t as funny as Ritchie’s previous movie though. The dialogue isn’t as full of the quotable one-liners and clever back-and-forths. Generally it is a darker movie, with Brick-Top adding a threat level that needs to be taken seriously. One scene involving Brad Pitt and a Caravan is particularly dark, shifting the tone and the story considerably.
The story isn’t quite the twisty, cleverly inter-linked tale that Ritchie has delivered before either. There is a trace of inter-connected stories and actions of one character affecting others in unusual ways but it isn’t quite as well executed as Lock, Stock and it is a notable difference.
Overall, Snatch is a confident follow-up to the excellent Lock, Stock. It delivers great characters, played by Hollywood stars and accomplished actors, demonstrating Ritchie’s pulling-power and influence. Unfortunately, with success comes a more polished product and it loses some of the clever, funny edge that Ritchie’s first movie delivered in spades.
Rating – 4
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