Guy Ritchie's "Snatch" repeats the basic blueprint of his previous film "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." The genre is the same, the setting is the same, the tone is the same, and some of the actors are the same. Yet "Snatch" still manages to stand on its own by being a smoother and slicker production that its predecessor. And having Brad Pitt on board this time around certainly helps the film carve out its own identity.
Once again mayhem and mishaps help to mar a criminal scheme. Frankie Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) steals a diamond which attracts the attention of Boris the Blade (Rade Sherbedgia) and Avi (Dennis Farina) who each want the diamond for himself. In the meantime, a gypsy (Pitt) who excels in the bare knuckle boxing department, but who is somewhat less refined in his verbal skills is recruited for a fight. Through a series of twists and turns, the fate of the diamond hunters and the gypsy boxer become intertwined and story twists ensue that would have been right at home in a screwball comedy - if not for the high body count.
What separates Ritchie's gangster flicks from those of his contemporaries is the combination of sassy wit and energy embodied in both his characters and the situations they find themselves in. Oftentimes "Snatch" strays perilously close to being too outrageous for its own good but it always manages to not cross the line into satire. Pitt gives one of his more underappreciated performances of the last few years and makes you realize just how useful the subtitle function is for DVD films. His gypsy boxer is a pure manifestation of all the zaniness that this film contains. Here's hoping that Ritchie can expand into other types of film genres in the future instead of continuing to compose variations on a theme. For the time being though, if you find yourself in the mood for an off-kilter crime caper, then "Snatch" is the film for you.