“Not for the weak-hearted, Snatch is loaded with cold-blooded murder and all-purpose violence…”
Director Quentin Tarantino hasn’t released a movie since 1997’s Jackie Brown; with Snatch, England’s Guy Ritchie picks up right where Tarantino left off. If you saw Ritchie’s debut feature, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, you should already know what to expect. He hasn’t changed much in style or substance, relying heavily on the former while somehow maintaining just enough of the latter to hold everything together. The director’s unmistakable slam-bang mark permeates the opening credits, which present each character in a trippy, hi-tech montage. From there, the jump cuts, motion effects and visual gimmickry continue until the final frame. Remarkably, Ritchie manages to keep it fresh throughout (watch how he gets one character from America to England in less than five seconds).
A vicious comedy of violent errors, Snatch follows several plotlines which meander for quite some time before slowly – and slyly – converging into a convoluted caper/heist/illegal boxing extravaganza. The titular snatching concerns a jawbreaker-sized, 86-carat diamond that changes hands several times among an assortment of gypsies, tramps and thieves. The complicated storylines require so much setup that it takes a bit too long for the film to find its groove, but once it does, it never loses it.
Not for the weak-hearted, Snatch is loaded with cold-blooded murder and all-purpose violence. Like Tarantino, Ritchie seems fascinated by criminals and the violent world they inhabit. However, he doesn’t glorify them; if anything, he portrays a life of crime as a miserable and unrewarding existence. Humor is derived from the fact that most of his “criminals” would be better served by less intellectually demanding professions; if there’s a way to screw something up, this motley group will find it.
More than anything else, Snatch is LOUD. Like those of his American counterpart, Ritchie’s films reverberate with explosions, gunfire and perfectly selected music (note Material Wife’s Lucky Star in one scene) played at exceedingly high volume. Profanities of the worst sort are bandied about gleefully and noisily, and even normal conversations occur at earsplitting levels.
Though similar to its predecessor, Snatch seems somehow better; more polished and more entertaining. But beware; the cockney accents are exaggerated for humorous effect. Even with careful listening, expect to miss a bit of dialogue, and not just that of the unintelligible gypsies (led by a hilariously incomprehensible Brad Pitt). Don’t worry, whatever you miss the first time, you’ll surely catch the next; chances are, you’ll want to see this one twice.