Snatch

Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt.
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language and some nudity.

Review by Lauren Snyder <lauren@filmhead.com>
January 24, 2001

By the time you get to this line, you've noticed that I've given Snatch, Guy Ritchie's follow-up to the UK-smash Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, a whopping three and a half stars. I realise this is a controversial stance to take, since there are already a few reviews out there, and most are not as glowing as mine. Well, assuming you've read those reviews and have an idea as to the plot, I'm going to skip straight to defending my choices on this highly enjoyable movie.

Some say that this is a poor retread of Ritchie's first film. I say that this is an improvement on his signature style, an aggressive, aesthetically supercharged 21-gun salute to Britannia. The deftness displayed in this writer/director's pacing and editing is at times electrifying and sometimes simply beautiful. The soundtrack is not only superb but is used to great comic effect as an incongruous accompaniment to certain scenes.

The performers are very real -- not necessarily charismatic, but downtrodden and afraid and as eloquent as we'd like to be. And then there's Brad Pitt. I could weep for all of the bad films he had to make in his younger days until he was seasoned enough to bring us the full power of his potential. In Snatch he plays Mickey, a mama's boy, bare-knuckle boxing champ who is a Piker (best described as a cross between a Gypsy, a football hooligan and a trailer park denizen). Pitt's fully-realised, magnetic character is a treat to watch, but also has the unfortunate side effect of making any scene without him that much less interesting.

Perhaps the biggest and most misplaced criticism towards this movie is that it glorifies criminal activity and violence. Yes, the movie's first big scene is an adrenalised diamond heist, but those parts are minor. What Guy Ritchie presents to us is a study in causality: in his ensemble of players, most end up dead or in jail, and the few that aren't caught are so scarred by the proceedings that there is little doubt that they will play it relatively safe in the future. Snatch is a morality tale, my friends. However, its executor knows to package it along with a little ultraviolence, local colour, witty dialogue, and a few bare breasts.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Snatch (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
Snatch (2000) -- VHS
Snatch (2000) -- DVD
Snatch: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc


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