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Film Review: Snatch (2000)
February 5, 2016
A multi-linear, frenetic, convoluted story about a stolen diamond comes to life in Guy Ritchie’s crime comedy, Snatch, thanks to a smashing ensemble cast, creative camerawork and editing, and comical, jargon-filled dialogue. In one plot, illegal boxing promoter Turkish (Jason Statham) gets in trouble with dangerous Cockney gangster boss Brick Top (Alan Ford) and requires the cooperation of the fast-talking Irish gypsy Mickey (Brad Pitt), a brilliant fighter with the ability to knock out a man with one blow. In another, Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) steals a massive diamond from a jeweller in Antwerp and is heading over to New York via London to pass it on to Cousin Avi (Dennis Farina). On the way, some Russians plan to stealthily snatch the stone from the gambling-addicted thief by hiring three bumbling criminals to hold him up on the way to the boxing bookies. Each resultant event is escalated to higher degrees of hilarity as more characters join in the fray, notably Vinnie Jones’s fixer character Bullet-Tooth Tony, a devilishly intelligent gangster who gets to utter a remarkably chilling and hilarious monologue to a trio of men threatening him with fake guns.
Ritchie excels in his particular style of London crime comedy, ramping up creative ways of shooting scenes that are both lively and hilarious. The opening robbery scene starts off with a gang of criminals in disguise as Jewish rabbis entering a building as seen through a series of CCTV security screens. The camera pans from one screen to another as the group makes its way into the building, the long take format heightening the tension. In another sequence, the characters are introduced in a quick montage, linked by the apparent passing of objects from frame to frame. The film’s dialogue is also quick, idiosyncratic, and disarmingly funny. Statham’s Turkish provides witty, deadpan narration, but the entire host of characters, particularly Mickey the incoherently chipper gypsy, get their time to shine with fully fleshed-out characterization (even minor characters) and plenty of quotable lines.
A hilarious, rollicking journey with an over-the-top, brilliantly pulled-off ending, Snatch is one of director Guy Ritchie’s best films.