Rated R; Directed by Guy Ritchie; Starring Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Vinnie Jones, Alan Ford, Dennis Farina, Benecio Del Toro
Poor little Madonna; she just can’t seem to find true everlasting love. Her marriage to film director Guy Ritchie is at an end. You know what? Poor Guy Ritchie. It can’t be easy being Madonna’s husband. This divorce may not be good for Madonna, but I hope it helps Ritchie. His debut feature film Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels showed huge promise, which he matched with his follow-up film, Snatch. Then it’s been downhill for him, with Swept Away (starring his then new wife, Madonna) hitting a low point. Yet, if he never makes a great film again, he tops my DVD-watching experience with the delightful Snatch.
In this tale of a big honking diamond, a dog that squeaks, bare-knuckled boxing, gambling gypsies, and some really inept thieves, Snatch is a movie brimming with testosterone. It also overflows with laughs. Writer and director Ritchie keeps things moving giving us a wild mix of characters and motivations. There’s Turkish, the boxing promoter (Jason Statham) who ends up over his head; Mickey the “pikey” (Brad Pitt) whose accent is indecipherable by all; Brick Top (Alan Ford) who is one nasty character with a pig farm; cousin Avi (Dennis Farina), hating his trip to London; Vinny (Robbie Gee), who has a dog that swallowed a squeeze toy; and finally both Bullet-Tooth Tony (Vinne Jones) and Boris the Blade (Rade Serbedzija) – two almost indestructible bad guys.
The way these characters intersect with a hunt for a stolen diamond and some fixed boxing matches ends up with hilarious moments, plus some very intense scenes of fights and violence. Ritchie uses music and clever editing to ratchet up the tension, along with the laughs. Best of all, the movie just surprises you as you watch the story unfold. That’s what is best about Ritchie’s early films. In both Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch you go along for a fast and wild ride and the plot isn’t all laid out in one expected plot point after another.
Ritchie’s cast assists at creating this view of lower-class London. Jason Statham used his fun turn as the sarcastic narrator to jump into starring roles in other action films. Brad Pitt pulls off his untrustworthy fighter with style. Alan Ford makes a proper menacing villain. Everyone has their moments. They carry off the smart dialogue in fine fashion.
Guy Ritchie is currently filming a new version of Sherlock Holmes. Expected next year, it stars Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson. I hope that Ritchie can offer us some delicious surprises in this movie, just as he did with Snatch. And though it is sad that his marriage is ending, who knows? It might not be that bad a thing.