Top positive review
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Chaotic, kinetic and outrageous fun
on March 15, 2002
Snatch is a fast-paced gangster thriller from England. Like many such British films, it is equal parts drama and black comedy. Our friends in the UK may take crime seriously, but they can't bring themselves to do the same with criminals. Perhaps there is a lesson for us there. I thoroughly enjoyed Snatch, but I must warn you that the accents can sometimes be hard to understand. The one used by Brad Pitt is intentionally indecipherable. Fortunately, I watched the DVD version, which has an option that puts subtitles on the screen whenever Mt. Pitt speaks. The video edition does not have this feature, but that doesn't matter too much. His dazzling performance is entirely physical in nature, so what does it matter what he has to say? The other characters don't understand him either.
The movie was directed by Michael Ritchie, who is probably better known to Americans as Madonna's husband. His first picture, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, was also about psycho bad guys; in fact, Snatch is so similar to it that it is practically a sequel. The characters are different, but many of the same actors appear in both movies. Both films also share Ritchie's frenetic, stylish editing, as well as his fascination with lowlifes.
The plot is so complicated that describing it is difficult. I had little problem following it, but several reviewers admitted to getting completely lost. Basically, the story is about a huge diamond that gets stolen from a jewelry company in Amsterdam. It bounces from one group of criminals to the next, and, of course, everybody wants to get their hands on it at any cost. Meanwhile, a boxing promoter is having a very difficult time with a vile, ruthless gang boss who is demanding that he fix a fight. This is where Brad Pitt's character, One Punch Mickey, comes in. He is part of a band of gypsies [thus, the accent] who are the trickiest double-dealing folks you are every likely to see. Soon, everyone is merrily out to get everyone else.
The characters all have names straight out of a Damon Runyon story - Frankie Four Fingers, Bullet Tooth, Boris the Blade, Turkish and Brick Top are some of them. I think the names alone are enough of a clue that the movie is not to be taken seriously. One problem some viewers will have with it is that there are two or three times as many characters than in most movies. Keeping up with them can be a challenge.
Snatch should prove to be great fun for those who love for a movie to be fast and innovative. For those who like them to be cool, calm and collected, another choice of movies is recommended.