Volume 94, Issue 68

Wednesday, January 24, 2001


For your pleasure

Snatch sure isn't The Vagina Monologues


Rage's swan song superior

Snatch sure isn't The Vagina Monologues

Starring: Brad Pitt, Vinnie Jones, Dennis Farina, Jason Statham
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

By Aaron St. John
Gazette Staff

First things first – Guy Ritchie's new movie Snatch is not about what you think.

Having said that, explaining what it is about isn't an easy task. Although the film's story line is well developed, it's also so complex and multi-faceted, it's impossible to fully explain here. Basically, Snatch revolves around a group of small-time thugs who find themselves in trouble, the way they try to get out of that trouble, and a diamond. Beyond that, things get complicated.

Don't let the complexity of the story turn you off, though. Snatch is an excellent film; it's a violent, comedic romp that never once lets up on its high-energy pace. For second-time director Ritchie, the task of following up Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels must have seemed daunting, but he's done an admirable job.

It's impossible to isolate a single element of the film that stands out. This is a fully cohesive picture, one in which the different aspects all mesh together seamlessly. The script, written by Ritchie himself, is a marvellous example of fine writing. Snatch is full of fantastic dialogue and contains some of the funniest moments to be seen on the silver screen in a long time.

One in particular is a hilarious, Monty Python-esque sequence involving a man who dodges bullets. This film is a testament to Ritchie's skill as a screenwriter, because even though the film is extremely complex, it remains concise. There's not a single wasted moment and, unlike the work of Quentin Tarantino, to whom Ritchie is compared most often, this work never meanders aimlessly.

The cast is equally marvellous. As Mickey O'Neil, the Irish Gypsy boxing champion, Brad Pitt delivers what is the finest performance of an already fine career. Pitt's willingness to challenge himself with odd roles and adopt characters that are not attractive is quite a courageous move.

Former British soccer star Vinnie Jones is delightfully good in his portrayal of hitman Bullet Tooth Tony, while Dennis Farina nearly steals every scene as Avi, the no-nonsense jeweller. Also worthy of recognition are relative unknowns Jason Statham, Alan Ford and Ade.

Visually and aurally, Snatch outdoes just about every film in recent memory with its sheer artfulness. Unorthodox camera angles, unexpected cuts and some fantastically bizarre images add up to make Snatch a joy to watch, even without any of the additional pleasures it boasts, including a killer soundtrack.

The one thing that detracts from Snatch is that, despite all of its merits, it's essentially the same film Ritchie produced with Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. That's not to say it's a simple remake or it's predictable, but the feel of the two films is identical and after viewing Snatch, one gets the idea Ritchie may be something of a one trick pony.

It remains a fantastic movie and perfect companion to Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, but if Ritchie wants to sustain a long career, he's going to have to lose the formula next time and come up with something different.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000