Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Vinnie Jones, Dennis Farina, Alan Ford, Benicio Del Toro
Current rank on IMDT Top 250 list: # 118
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After his first venture into film-making with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie continued his run of success when he directed Snatch, an over-the-top British gangster comedy with a rather impressive cast that included the likes of Jason Statham, Benicio Del Toro and Brad Pitt.
Despite receiving a lukewarm critical response, Snatch was a crowd-pleaser that has garnered somewhat of a cult-following, often branded nowadays as one of the best British comedies of the last 20 years.
Much of the criticism Snatch received from the press centered on its obvious similarities to Ritchie’s previous endeavor and for having an overly complex storyline that was hard to follow. Though both observations are valid, Snatch exceeds the quality of all of the films in Ritchie’s oeuvre by keeping us entertained with a wild plot that is hilarious and full of surprises.
Like the film that preceded it, Guy Ritchie delivered Snatch with a furious pace that keeps the adrenaline high through a fast-paced dialogue that does tend to become indecipherable at times to a non-Brit. The style of Snatch remains consistent, never pretending to be more than a silly comedy with a very particular British flavor. The world it creates never intends to be realistic, but simply a stage to theatrical, almost caricaturesque characters of diverse backgrounds all vying to get their hands on a stolen big diamond. Interestingly, every character is defined by nicknames that say something about their past, there is Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) who due to gambling problems, found himself owing some money to the wrong people who, of course, sought retribution by cutting one of his fingers. The ensemble of characters is as varied as they come, mixing to create some of the most inventive dialogues I have seen in a movie.
As the film’s biggest star, Brad Pitt gave Snatch a broader appeal (an American appeal) even though he curiously played a British gypsy, a character that is as far removed from American culture as you can get. Pitt thrived with the role, delivering a performance that is energetic, peculiar but, most importantly, very funny.
Also important to the film’s success is the hilarious contribution of Vinnie Jones, former soccer player turned actor, who has found his niche as a brutish man’s man with impressive comic timing. His role as Bullet Tooth Tony may be one of the most entertaining effortlessly cool characters I have seen.
Despite being overly complex and with moments of unintelligible dialogue, Snatch is a comedy that does what a comedy is supposed to do: be consistently funny. Ritchie’s camerawork is smart and enriches the story, often becoming a prop that helps deliver the best moments of the film.
Snatch is wild, crazy and definitely not for everyone. However, I found it to be extremely consistent, well-delivered, with smart dialogue and impressive comedic timing. So, lets try to overlook the fact that Ritchie has not quite built upon his early success by delivering mediocre films and getting married to Madonna.