Directed by Guy Ritchie (2000)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★
Snatch is an eccentric, original film that combines both gangster and comedic elements to create a relatively successful and refreshing film (‘original’ is subjective; it’s supposedly too similar to Guy Ritchie‘s previous film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but then again I haven’t seen that yet). The plot follows two interlinked story lines set in the London criminal underworld: one revolves around an attempt by several parties to steal an 86 carat diamond, the other about a boxing promoter and his unfortunate dealings with an unmerciful gangster. Despite the seemingly simple plot, the various twists and turns are surprising and even hilariously absurd. Think deadpan comedy with imposing guns and terrifically witty dialogue. It’s like watching a slapstick cartoon come to life. Edited rather stylistically, contrary to the conventional theatrical manner, it moves at a faster pace than most films and has a cool, fitting accompanying soundtrack.
(Statham as ‘Turkish’ to the right, Pitt as ‘Mickey’ in the centre, Stephen Graham as ‘Tommy’ to the left)
This film features an impressive ensemble of actors (I just now realise the lack of female characters; this is a ‘manly’ film). But the two standouts were Jason Statham and Brad Pitt, two widely-known actors; the former known for being one of the iconic ‘action heroes’ in films such as The Transporter, Crank and The Expendables, the latter known for being a ‘pretty-boy-but-still-immensely-talented actor’ in films such as Seven, 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, just to name a few. Imagine my surprise then at Jason Statham’s impressive delivery of Guy Ritchie’s brilliantly written dialogue. I was unimpressed with his action flick performances, but in Snatch, he proves he is capable of more than just throwing punches and shooting guns. Brad Pitt had an interesting character to play; how did he pull off so well an Irish gypsy (or derogatorily known as ‘pikey’) who excels in bare-knuckle boxing, is obsessed with his mum and whose heavily-accented words are completely indecipherable? One of my favourite of his performances.
(Alan Ford as ‘Brick Top’, a ruthless gangster, on the left; he enjoys cutting people up into 6 pieces and feeding them to pigs. He wisely points out that pigs ‘will go through a body that weighs 200 pounds in about eight minutes. That means that a single pig can consume two pounds of uncooked flesh every minute. Hence the expression, “as greedy as a pig”.’)
Snatch thrives on the ability to entertain audiences with its unique deliverance, laugh-out-loud dialogue and outrageous happenings. However, that’s as far as it goes. Halfway through the film, the dialogue starts to feel a bit stale and overdone, the style of editing is a bit vexing and the story seems to go nowhere. Some of the performances were mediocre, as if the actors were unable to grasp the true character they were tasked to play. This was one of the films where the entire journey failed to overrule the unsatisfactory ending. This film is smart, make no mistake, but Guy Ritchie shouldn’t have overdone it for his own good.
(UPDATE: Read my review of Guy Ritchie’s debut film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels here)