The promise for high entertainment from a talented, proven filmmaker and a stellar cast with character names such as Gorgeous George and Bullet Tooth Tony should be enough to at least draw many people to Snatch.  This action filled, crime thriller has more than enough entertainment for audiences as director/writer Guy Ritchie gets strong support in editing and character performances, mostly from the cast members who starred in Ritchie’s previous film, Lock, Stock, and Two Barrels.

Ritchie shows violence when it’s vital to the plot and shows the after effects of violence encounters that occur off screen which keeps a good balance in the film.  He doesn’t overuse one technique and can dazzle you with a variety of effective camera techniques and inventive sequences.  Ritchie borrows some elements from his previous Lock, Stock, and Two Barrels, but the plot is original enough to overlook most of them.

Jason Statham (Bacon from Lock, Stock, and Two Barrels) plays Turkish who finds himself in a complicated situation along with his partner, Tommy (Stephen Graham). Tony, well played by Ritchie film vet Vinnie Jones (underused in Gone in 60 Seconds and Swordfish), factors in later as a menacing figure in the crime world.  Alan Ford stars as Brick Top, a ruthless character who manages the local fight match racket and bookies (this character reminded me of Harvey Kietel).  A group of thieves named Sol, Lincoln , Tyrone, and Vinny, respectively and realistically played by Lennie James, Goldie, Ade, Robbie Gee, also add crime filled activity to the kinetic plot.

Brad Pitt stars as Mickey O’Neil, one of the film’s few well-developed characters (in more than one way) that an audience can have an emotional attachment with.  Other characters such as Cousin Avi (Dennis Farina), Franky Four Fingers (a fairly prominent, but underused for Benicio Del Toro) and Boris the Blade (Rade Serbedzija) don’t stand on their own as well as Mickey, but do help boost the plot’s impact which plays the biggest role in the film. Don’t pay close attention to some characters’ nicknames because they describe key plot points that may spoil the plot.  If you want to get the names right, pay close attention to the beginning sequence that introduces all the characters.

The characters emit a huge amount of memorable dialogue as their exploits relating to London’s underground crime world including a diamond heist, fight match fixing, and gangsters.  Ritchie keeps everyone grounded in realism so they don’t come off like comic book characters yet uses their varied characteristics and plot twists to entertain the audience.  You may wish you got to watch more than one hour and 43 minutes of this tough, funny film.

Snatch’s solid music soundtrack includes performances from Ritchie’s wife Madonna, Oasis, James Brown, Klint, 10cc, Overseer, and Massive Attack.  Many references from other crime films and memorable dialogue add to the already entertaining story which helps since the action is mainly limited to gunplay, punch-outs and a few havocs by car.  Some of the characters could’ve been given more closure, especially the characters with questionable exits given their characteristics.

Filmed in London, England, UK, Snatch comes recommended (*** out of four stars) and is rated R for violence and language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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