Film Review: ‘Snatch’ (2000)

[This is a critical evaluation written for uni.]

Snatch (2000) was directed by Guy Ritchie and boasted a star-studded cast including Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham, Brad Pitt and Benicio Del Toro.

The scene is set by Turkish’s voiceover (Turkish acts as omniscient narrator throughout) and the intro to the film, where Turkish and Tommy are sat before an unknown man, effectively depicts a lot about the characters’ personalities through their behaviour when not directly involved in dialogue or interaction. Turkish’s narration provides all the necessary character backgrounds required for the story.

The film successfully invokes humour, this is done usually through irony or satire such as the killing of Boris (which takes eight bullets, playing on Boris’ ‘immortal’ moniker) or Turkish’s sarcastic explanation of why he needs a new caravan (having lifted the rusted door out of it’s hinges, Tommy asks what’s wrong with the one he’s got, Turkish replies “Oh, nothing, Tommy. It’s tiptop. It’s just I’m not sure about the colour.”)

Snatch makes much use of camera angles and lighting to create atmosphere and a distinct style, for example, filming from the point of view of the dead Frankie Four Fingers. Another key player in creating atmosphere in the film is the music. The Stranglers’ ‘Golden Brown’ denotes the spiralling into unconsciousness of Gorgeous George and the spiralling into trouble of Tommy; a repeated folk/Jewish style piece is used to control pace (such as the steady increase leading up to the three-way car collision or an easier pace for scenes without tension); ‘fun’ music is used for scenes involving bungling e.g. Sol and Vince’s bookie heist.

Ritchie clearly borrows a lot of stylistic elements from the six years previous Pulp Fiction, seen in the use of cultural markers such as the musical score and (over-use of) ‘mockney’ and the mixing of the mundane with action, e.g. when Turkish accidentally scuffs Brick Top’s shoes, the latter complaining that he had just had them polished.

However, despite its professional, polished feel, Snatch does lack professionalism in several ways. Some characters appear homogenous e.g. Tony, Brick Top and Turkish; this can be seen in the way they speak i.e. the lengthy metaphors, sage imparting of wisdom, the mixing of child-like talk with sophisticated words with crass London-lad language and even the pace of their speech, suggesting the need for more players in the tale than the writer could individualise. Examples of this include:

“I fail to recognize the correlation between losing ten grand, hospitalising Gorgeous, and a good deal” and  “It’s an unlicensed boxing match. It’s not a tickling competition” (Turkish);

“You’re on thin fucking ice my pedigree chums, and I shall be under it when it breaks…”, “Goody gumdrops…”, “…You got to starve the pigs for a few days, then the sight of a chopped-up body will look like curry to a pisshead… Hence the expression, “as greedy as a pig” (Brick Top).

The film is also riddled with errors, e.g. when Vincent, Sol, and Tyrone get into the car before they rob the bookies, Vincent’s turtleneck is gray. When they crash into Franky Four Finger’s van, his turtleneck changes to burgundy (continuity), the diamond is referred at the beginning of the film as 86 carat, but at the end as 84 carat (factual) and Franky Four Fingers is seen several times with five fingers (factual). In addition to this there is the fact that despite all the shootings there appear to be no police in London and certainly no visible women, creating a lack of realism. Overall, Snatch (2000) certainly comes across as sleeker and more professional than its predecessor, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, however it is equally as certain that there are many flaws in the piece.

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