SNATCH will grab.
Released on the heels of his stylish, dangerous LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS, SNATCH simultaneously solidified the grit-edged, flamethrower directorial style of Guy Ritchie, even as it launched Jason Statham into his TRANSPORTER leading man roles; heralded an altogether explosive performance from Alan Ford as Brick Top; proved yet again the go-to value of Rade Sherbedgia as generic Slovakian Hard Guy (even though no two publications can agree on the spelling of his name); saw Dennis Farina reprising his smarm-jockey from GET SHORTY; was a hilarious continuation of Vinnie Jones’s unbalanced contract killer from LOCK, STOCK, and marked Bradley Pitt’s first foray into incoherent mumbling whilst covered in poo.With a soundtrack as impertinent as its plot and as foreboding as the felons who populate it, edited with a verve which could snap your cervical vertebrae, and shot with a style that will make your eyebrows bleed, SNATCH is a Molotov cocktail of a movie; a careening, chain-wielding maniac of a film.
It’s about incompetent thugs and incomprehensible gypsies. It’s about Desert Eagle point five-oh’s and fist-sized, dog-swallowed diamonds. It’s about bare-knuckle street fighting, for gangsters who breed people-eating pigs. No good guys and no bad guys – only bad guys and badder guys.
Indescribable at best, inexplicable at worst, who knows exactly what is going on in SNATCH, except maybe Guy Ritchie – and only when he’s drunk.
Compulsive gambler, Frankie Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) must deliver from London to New York an 86-carat diamond to Cousin Avi (Farina), but Boris the Blade (Sherbedgia) gets in the way, via his small-time help, Vincent and Sol, simultaneously igniting the wrath of sadistic underworld kingpin, Brick Top (who would just as readily suffocate you with a plastic bag or feed you to a pig as deign to scathe your manhood with his cockney insults). So Cousin Avi must jump-cut travel to England and employ Bullet Tooth Tony (Jones) to retrieve the gem.
Disparate plots and subplots intertwine like choker vines – with comedy so sharp you could paper-cut your tongue on it, in dialogue so lushly British you could smell the fish ‘n’ chips frying in three-day-old oil.
In a seemingly removed throughline, Turkish (Statham) and his marginally-tolerated sidekick, Tommy (Stephen Graham) get themselves deep into devil dealings over bare-knuckle boxing matches with Brick Top and must tactfully employ the very fighter who put their star fighter out of commission – the “harder than a coffin nail” gypsy, Mickey (Pitt). Refusing to play the game of taking dives, Mickey gets Turkish and Tommy into deeper devilry when his freight-train right hook fells Brick Top’s bet-winning boxer.
Freeze frames, crash-cuts, slomo, chronological reversal, whip zooms, strobed film, contrast-treated frames, screen wipes, follow-frames, Batman angles – Ritchie relishes throwing the baby and the bathwater at the viewer, garnering his fair share of detractors. Ultimately, SNATCH is not for THE WEDDING PLANNER set.
In the final few minutes, the disparate threads coalesce and the diamonds and dogs and boxers and blaggings all somehow crazily make sense.
But only when you’re drunk.