If you have not seen writer/director Guy Ritchie’s former film, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is lots of style, lots of nouveau-Pulp Fiction cum Trainspotting style and Clockwork Orange men-oriented ultraviolence with touches of absurdity to make it go down more smoothly. Snatch follows the same lines, but with somewhat less brutality, more absurdity, and Brad Pitt doing a wicked accurate gypsy accent. This is not to say that Snatch is not an entertaining film – it is entertaining, it is amusing, and it is full of surprises. However, Snatch is also rather like Chinese food. Tastes great, but no sense memory afterward. I am giving this movie a lower rating than I gave Lock Stock even though I actually enjoyed Snatch more. This inconsistency will surely be noted by my friendly detractors (KS), but I have decided I like these films less than I initially was seduced into thinking I liked them.
A zillion characters parade about in Snatch, each trying to out-leverage the other and get the prize – though some of the stories seem utterly unrelated despite their intimacy within the story. I hardly took a note, so involved was I while watching it, but it was a thin slice of pure entertainment – I am even struggling now for something to say. Please note the padding to make the minimum 450 word review length. This, to me, is not the sign of a fine film – or an awful one. I recalled thinking, a while afterward, that Lock Stock was very funny, but upon rerenting it, discovered it was really more the laughter that you have when you don’t quite believe something – when a huge, complex tidal wave of happenstance bears down into a sharp point, you laugh in nervous amazement, and (I felt, at least) sheer delight that somehow the screenwriter was able to tie it all together. Snatch ties together less neatly, but inserts more genuine (though thin) humor to make up for it. Less stories are juggled, less onscreen violence, and some yuks improve Snatch as a sort-of action movie, sort-of drama, but it is the same non-genre that Trainspotting and Reservoir Dogs belong to.
The humor being more of the self-deprecating British punk humor than the you-deprecating Yank humor, and the attendant darkness behind all crime-humor gives Snatch it’s charm. I liked it, but I doubt I would see it again. Four hundred and six words, and what can I say? It looks cool, but not innovative. It is amusing, but not lasting. It’s better than a music video, it has a genuine, involved story, but it’s just paper thin. Like this review – no substance.
MPAA Rating R -strong violence language nudity.
Release date 1/19/01
Time in minutes 103
Director Guy Ritchie
Studio Screen Gems