In the pantheon of Tarantino imitators, no one does it quite as well as Guy Ritchie. The new Mr. Madonna has a knack for inventive but derivative camera tricks, sprawling casts, quirky characters, interlocking stories, and violence. The camera spins, zooms in and out really quick, freezes frame, slows down, and speeds up, although Ritchie seemed to tire of these tricks quickly into the film. Prior to film, Ritchie directed commercials and videos, and like most of his ilk, the influence of his prior work is present here. His first film was Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels, and fans of that one will surely like this one. The same frenetic sense of action is here.
Snatch is filmmaking for those with attention deficit disorder. There is always something going on, with little down time to process any sort of information. There is not enough time to realize that in a way, there really is nothing going on. Everything revolves around an 86-carat diamond. Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro, The Pledge, Traffic) stole the diamond, then lost it. Avi (Dennis Farina, Reindeer Games, The Mod Squad) hired Franky to steal it, and now come to London to try to get the diamond back. Boris the Blade (Rade Sherbedgia, MI:2, Space Cowboys), a Russian, is also after the diamond. Meanwhile, boxing promoters Turkish (Jason Statham, John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels) and Tommy (Stephen Graham, Where the Heart Is, Band of Brothers) are tying to get gypsy Mickey (Brad Pitt, The Mexican, Fight Club) to box for them.
There are also various henchmen, crooked boxing promoters, other gypsies, bumbling crooks, and a dog, all running around London. And at some point, the stories will converge, thanks to Ritchie. He creates controlled chaos with everybody out to get everyone else. Ritchie shifts quickly between the various stories, fast enough that it is initially confusing trying to figure out what is going on. Coincidences and chance meetings about, and they are amusing, just not funny. The same goes for the dialogue. It does not take much to yell and curse at someone else, but the biting wit that gives other movies an edge is missing. Most of the performances feel anonymous except for Farina and Pitt. Farina gets points for his continual bad disposition and hatred of all things English, and Pitt does nicely in a comedic turn. The catch for him is that nobody can understand his accent. Sprinkled in his near gibberish are discernible words, which makes things more amusing. Ritchie is a capable director, but he needs to find his own style instead of copying others if he really wants to make a mark.
|Haro Rates It: Okay.
|1 hour, 43 minutes, Rated R for strong violence, language, and nudity.
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