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Snatch
2001 - R - 103 Mins.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Producer: Matthew Vaughn, Guy Ritchie
Written By: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Benicio del Toro, Dennis Farina, Brad Pitt, Jason Flemyng, Vinnie Jones
Review by: David Trier
   
I should preface this review with, unless you count The Godfather, I never much liked gangster flicks. There will inevitably be people who call Snatch the most entertaining film of the year, but for me this was a misfire from beginning to end.

Seeing as how this film doesn't really have a story, just a lot of characters, summarizing it is near impossible. All the summaries I've read online, for example, use terms like "meanwhile" or "whilst all this is going on" and so forth, but here goes... Turkish (Jason Statham) is forced by his boss, Brick Top (Alan Ford), to arrange and rig a boxing match, but his fighter gets killed by a punch from Mickey (Brad Pitt), an unintelligible "pike" or Irish/Scottish hillbilly gypsy (or something). So Turkish has to find a way to convince Mickey to fight for him and throw the match. This is all loosely connected to a diamond heist that has gone completely awry. Avi (Dennis Farina), the coordinator of the heist must come to England to find the diamond and... hilarity ensues.

Again, this is a film that's highly dependent upon personal taste. Some people think two hours of British people being mean to each other is quality entertainment. I found the film completely unstructured and altogether boring. Some credit should go, however, to the quality of some of the characters. If there is a main character, it might be Turkish and Jason Statham makes him probably the most likeable and realistic of the film. And props should go to Brad Pitt (who I normally find irritating) for making Mickey very funny and appealing. Turkish's sidekick, Tommy (Stephen Graham) is also worth mentioning. Benicio del Toro is cool as always but Frankie Four Fingers is a pretty inconsequential character. Rade Serbedzija, who always plays a creepy Russian, pulls Boris The Blade off with ease. Some of the other characters have their moments but the parts are too small or the dialogue is too juvenile to make them really memorable. Alan Ford's Brick Top is damn near annoying, delivering each line with intense melodrama, as if trying to squeeze an ounce of comedy out of every poorly scripted word. "Do you know what 'nemesis' means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this instance by an 'orrible cunt... me!" Nearly all of the dialogue in the film is as transparent as this, aimed at the audience that snickers whenever they hear a naughty word in a thick accent.

The biggest problem I had with this film (the same one I had with Pulp Fiction now that I think about it) is that everyone is either a thief and/or a murderer, so their problems really aren't very important. They could all die in a freak train accident and it wouldn't produce more than a smirk on my face. I didn't care if they found the diamond or who wins the boxing match, because none of them really deserve to be happy in the first place. And although chopping people up can be amusing in a campy horror film, it's mostly distasteful in a film like this.

The film is primarily shot like an MTV special. This is very effective in small doses, but in this case completely exploited. The music (sure to make more money in soundtracks than in the box office) is mostly fun and bouncy if you like techno, which was a bonus for me. But Snatch, right down to its clever little title, is all marketing and no story. Some of the characters are quite colorful and a few of the scenes are well executed, but nothing involving is ever really at stake. And there are few themes less cliche than a rigged boxing match, a diamond heist, and a troublesome little dog.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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