The follow up to Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels proves that slight variations to a tried and successful formula can create an entertaining and enriching watch. So it goes with Snatch, another crime film by Guy Ritchie set within London’s underworld of hustlers and gangsters all out for the big payday.
This film revolves around the recapture of a large diamond, of which a slew of colourful characters that only Ritchie could write – among them an American Jewish gangster (Dennis Farina), a seemingly immortal Russian (Rade Serbedzija), and a professional hard man named Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) - scramble to locate.
Simultaneously, two men involved in the unlicensed boxing circuit (Jason Statham and Stephen Graham) find themselves in debt to a truly mean bastard of a crime boss named Brick Top (Alan Ford), whose favourite method of dispatching his victims is by feeding them to pigs. Their only saving grace lies in the unpredictable Irish Gypsy Mickey, played by a scene stealing Brad Pitt who is given all of the best lines, even though some might not understand a word he mutters.
Pitt’s performance confirms that he is at his best when inhabiting truly bizarre characters. While Johnny Depp may be applauded for his choice and interpretation of quirky characters, Pitt unfortunately is not.
Snatch confirms writer/director Guy Ritchie as a filmmaker with a strong visual eye, an ability to create memorable characters and write often funny dialogue. But his status as a post-production fiend is what truly separates him from his peers. The films editing in particular – courtesy of Jon Harris – has helped crate and energetic film. Sound effects are crisp and startles the viewer in the right places, and a bigger budget gives way to a memorable fight scene, which is loaded –but never overwhelmed - with visual effects.
This is not the first time that a filmmaker has ripped off his own movie in order to make a much better variation of an original idea. Sam Raimi did so with 1987’s horror classic Evil Dead 2, which was basically an enhanced version of Evil Dead, complete with bigger budget and more confidence in all aspects of production.
Just like Evil Dead 2, Snatch uses and abuses the template of its breakthrough predecessor, elevates it, and delivers an equal, if not better, version of a film we have all seen before, yet much better the second time around.