January 26, 2001

Carbon Copy

Print More

Based on the film’s title, I expected to find some female flesh in Snatch. However, I was instead presented with a testosterone-filled action flick in which guns and blood took up most of the screentime and the body count reached way over a dozen.

Guy Ritchie’s second film, Snatch, is much like his first (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), which is not really a bad thing. It is basically a shallow, Tarantino-esque romp through a world of dark humor and bloody laughs. This style should be no surprise to any of his fans, for it is because of (and sometimes in spite of) it that his first movie was so enjoyable. Ritchie’s follow-up, Snatch, works in precisely the same way.

At its most basic level, Snatch is about a group of low quality gangsters (goons, if you will) whose lives are intertwined and, in some cases, are interrupted by a single, golf-ball sized 84 karat diamond. The jewel is originally stolen by Franky Four Fingers, played by a suprisingly lackluster Benicio Del Toro, whose performance I had looked forward to. It’s disappointing because it is a highly over-complex role he may have not had a chance to perfect.

The diamond eventually ends up in London where it is sought after by an assortment of gangsters. Among these are Cousin Avi (Dennis Farina, Saving Private Ryan), an American Jew who intensely dislikes England, his cousin, a British man called Doug the Head (Mike Reid) and his unkillable accomplice, Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones). These are only a handful of the players who keep the plot rolling along in a convoluted maze of events.

Adding to the humor and violence is a group of tough talking, bumbling thieves complete with a pet pit-bull that squeaks due to a swallowed squeeze toy. Then there’s the unusual form of pig food that doubles as a body removal device.

However, the most entertaining and interesting of the players has to be Brad Pitt’s Mickey O’Neil, a sly gypsy who speaks in a barely understandable mumble. He uses his speech impediment to supplement his barganing skills, getting as much out of each deal as possible, including a new “caravan” so he can move out of his mom’s place. Like a true gypsy deal-maker, he is always sure to throw a dog into every deal, as is the gypsy custom.

Pitt is hired to be the “fall guy” in a bare-knuckle boxing match, but his right hook turns out to be unbeatable. This plot twist proves to be a critical part of the story’s eventually confusing conclusion. I found myself wishing that the movie focused more on Pitt’s character and less on the mass of other, less interesting and less useful people.

Snatch works well as a high action crime thriller, just as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels did. It allows a moviegoer to see the humor in the most violent of situations, never taking itself too seriously with its cartoonish use of music and sound effects. Ritchie tosses in fast-frame expository flashbacks and backward sequences, eerily resembling the directorial style of Tarintino. As in Lock Stock, Snatch utilizes a running narration, provided by Jason Stathanm’s cynical Cockney tough guy named Turkish, to keep the story moving.

With Snatch’s unexpected turns, one can never tell which is more likely to come into play next — the strange form of pig food, the briefcase that is attached to an arm (and nothing else), or the squeaking dog. Indeed, most of the fun of watching the movie comes from seeing how and why the various characters interact. And no matter how much Snatch resembles Ritchie’s first effort, a good movie is a good movie no matter how many times you see it.

Archived article by Ashley Risner