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SNATCH (2000 - R)
SNATCH is yet another brilliant import from Britain's stylized director Guy Ritchie. An amped up version of "Lock, Stock", SNATCH tells of the criminal, comedic, and action-packed mayhem of the underground world in the race for possession of a coveted 86 carat diamond, that interacts with the likes of Pikeys, boxing rings, diamond heists, hare races, etc. It's London at its finest, so to speak.
Written and directed by: Guy Ritchie.
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime, Thriller.
Tagline: At 86 carats, the important question is, who'll 'snatch' it first?
Rated: R for strong violence, language, and some nudity.
The film commences with a group of imposter Jewish rabbi's entering a confidential office where they heist an 86 carat diamond. Leading the robbery is the infamous Franky 'Four Fingers' (Benicio Del Toro). Heading back to the van, Franky chains himself to a briefcase where the diamond is to be hidden, prepared for delivery in New York to a man by the name of 'Cousin Avi' (Dennis Farina). But an insider hired by Borris 'The Blade' (Rade Serbedzija) sets Franky up and sends him to London in search of a gun which will be provided to him via Borris. Once in London, Borris exploits Franky's weakness, gambling, and sets him up to place a bet at a bookie, which he arranges to be robbed by duo Vinnie (Robbie Gee) and SOL (Lennie James); two precarious diamond dealers.
Meanwhile, Turkish (Jason Statham), a successful underground boxing promoter, and his bumbling partner Tommy (Stephen Graham) promote fights between unlicensed fighters. Their latest prodigy is Gorgeous George (Adam Fogerty), a mass of a man with a stature that intimidates upon sight. Hoping to arrange a lucrative fight, Turkish and Tommy head to the nefarious Brick Top (Alan Ford) in hopes they can find a sponsor to put on the fight. But Brick Top is not a man to be messed with, and those who either cross him or fall short of their promises wind up as food for his pig farm. But Turkish and Tommy have full faith in Gorgeous George and his boxing ability. In need of a new office, however, Turkish sends Tommy and Gorgeous George to the notorious Pikey camp, a half breed of Irish and British blood, to purchase a new caravan.
There, Tommy and Gorgeous George encounter the infamous Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt). Not quite comprehending his more than slurred accent, Tommy and Gorgeous George strike up what they believe to be a good deal with Mickey and prepare to head home with their new caravan, that is, until the back axle falls off and their 'new office' just turned into a useless purchase. Upset, Tommy returns to camp with George prepared to get their money back and seek a new office elsewhere. But Mickey and the Pikey's won't budge and suddenly it's down to a fight between Gorgeous George and Mickey to decide on the fate of Turkish and Tommy's new office. The last thing George is expecting is to go down by a man ¼ his size. All the same, in one punch Mickey lands George in the hospital just a few days before his upcoming fight arranged with Brick Top.
Now sweating bullets, Turkish and Tommy turn in despair to Mickey, apparently the bare-knuckle fighting champion, to fight in the upcoming match. Upset, Brick Top only agrees to the switched fighter providing that Mickey goes down in the fourth. But the rebellious Pikey knocks out his competition in the very first round, again, in the very first punch, leaving Brick Top to threaten the very scared Turkish and Tommy.
Tying Tommy and Turkish into the diamond fiasco is Tommy's sudden decision to purchase a gun for defense, which he purchases from none other than Borris 'The Blade'. As far as the bookie heist goes, the clumsy duo Sol and Vinnie completely screw things up in typical Guy Ritchie fashion, and the unfortunate happenstance results in their near capture. As their larger than life getaway driver comes to their rescue, he is also the one who, ironically, captures Franky and brings him back to the shop for Borris to investigate. Once at the shop however, Borris brazenly shoots Franky, not realizing he has the code to the briefcase containing the coveted diamond. Of course the merciless Borris simply cuts off his hand and leaves Vinnie and SOL to dispose of the body.
Worried about the delayed arrival of Franky and more importantly, his diamond, Cousin Avi gets on the first flight to London and finds the infamous Doug 'The Head' (Mike Reid), an underground diamond aficionado, in hopes that Doug can provide him with a clue as to the diamond's location. Meanwhile Borris has headed to Doug's office in hopes of trading the diamond in for some cold cash. Further complicating relations, Brick Top traces down Vinnie and Sol, the men responsible for complicating matters at the bookies, and thus screwing up the pay off at the fight. Threatening them with their lives, the boys promise to pay Brick Top back with a huge 86 carat diamond believed to be in the possession of Borris.
As Borris tries to keep the diamond safe, Cousin Avi and Doug 'The Head' hire 'Bullet Tooth' Tony (Vinnie Jones) to track down Franky and the diamond. Of course, the multi-person interest in the stone smacks of total chaos and a few good death scenes, but the middle plot develops through the tension of the newly expected fight between Mickey and yet another unlicensed fighter. But Mickey and his mother don't want to partake in the fight, and Brick Top, determined to have a lucrative fight, burns down Mickey's mother's trailer, with her still in it, to provoke him into fighting. Enraged, Mickey drowns himself in liquor the night of his mother's wake, while Turkish and Tommy sweat bullets as Brick Top places yet another stipulation on the fight surrounding the necessity of Mickey's going down in the 4th round, yet again. But Mickey is not one to listen, and unless he does, Turkish and Tommy are guaranteed to be the next meal for Brick Top's piggies.
As the diamond switches multiple hands, and a multitude of bloody deaths and ironic repetition of the uncanny ensues, all the characters are brought together for a brilliant climax of action, suspense, murder, boxing…mayhem. Mickey agrees to take a beating and makes his acquiescence to Brick Top's contrived fight look believable enough, that is, until he suddenly knocks the guy out cold. Believed to be doomed, Turkish and Tommy hurriedly head out of the ring with Mickey at their side, prepared to be slaughtered once they exit the doors of the building by Brick Top's legion of men. But once outside, an ironic twist of fate occurs and the vengeful Pikeys prevail. Meanwhile the diamond has somehow found its way back to Vinnie and SOL's shop, where Vinnie's ambivalent dog who loves to snatch at things, greedily snatches the diamond and ingests it along with the rest of the many precarious objects it has formerly consumed. A disbelieving Cousin Avi instructs Bullet Tooth Tony to 'open the dog' up, but his British propriety won't allow it, and as Avi wrestles Tony for the gun and he dances around a protective Vinnie, the bullet accidentally misfires and kills Tony, provoking Avi to head for the first flight home to the US. The lucky dog takes off and goes missing, the 86 carat diamond with him.
With Brick Top now dead at the hands of the Pikeys, Turkish and Tommy venture to their campgrounds to thank Mickey. But upon arrival Turkish and Tommy notice that the Pikey's have split, to avoid legal matters. Just as they discover Mickey to be missing, Turkish and Tommy are confronted by an investigator who inquires as to their presence. At the precise moment of his inquisition however, a dog happens to run across the grounds, and Tommy goes after it, claiming that a brisk walk with the dog never hurt anybody. As Turkish and Tommy head home with their new pet the last thing they expect is to find an 86 carat diamond in its stomach. All the same, an 86 carat diamond they find and they decide to consult, who else, but diamond aficionado Doug 'The Head', who calls Cousin Avi immediately, who takes the first plane back to London…
"Snatch" is a witty, refreshing, brilliant film that testifies to the prolific talent of British director/writer Guy Ritchie. This memorable film is an amped and over-the-top version of "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" and it sizzles in its originality, albeit its similarity to "Lock, Stock". Unlike anything Hollywood has yet to come out with, "Snatch" is yet another dazzling film that captivates, entices, and more importantly, delivers. Yet again, a witty script with incessant one-liners and snappy punch lines sparkles in its originality and vividness. Never before has the British humor seem to flippant, so powerful, so un-dry and anti-mundane, as is sometimes portrayed in other films. Still, the humor is true to its roots and the pat, sometimes flat delivery of the witty one-liners is done so well as to keep it enticing throughout the entirety of the film.
Brad Pitt shines in his role as Mickey O'Neil, the half Irish/half British nefarious Pikey with a slurred accent as memorable as his scruffy appearance and flashy outfits. Think his character Tyler Durden in "Fight Club" with a Ritchie twist. Of course, Jason Statham and much of the original cast of "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" reunite to once again give solid performances. Also impressive was the performance by Ritchie film rookie Stephen Graham as the bumbling Tommy. Adding to the solid cast is the brief yet solid performance by the talented Benicio Del Toro who entertains in his portrayal of the four-fingered gambling con-artist/robber/victim, etc.
By far, the most enticing components of the film, is the direction. The brilliant cinematography shines in its uniqueness and its powerful artistry. Guy Ritchie uses film as an art medium and runs with the creative ability to render shots as artistically as possible, from the spectacular scene where Brad Pitt is suspended in the air, to the almost comic-book portrait-esque introduction of the main characters, to the ironic repetitions of the dejavouz-like scenes. Guy Ritchie is an artist, and his artistry shines in the vividness of the film's direction and the originality of its script. "Snatch" is a thoroughly enjoyable film, albeit a 'guy's film', it offers the potential to enthrall and titillate even the most prudish woman if only she would allow. "Snatch" is just another of what one hopes to be many masterpieces that Guy Ritchie will continue to produce throughout what one hopes will be an equally successful career. Hats off to Ritchie and "Snatch".
Jason Statham plays Turkish, the boxing promoter who finds himself in quite a pickle.
Stephen Graham plays Tommy, Turkish's inept but beloved partner.
Alan Ford plays Brick Top Polford, the nefarious underground boxing supporter, and pig farm owner.
Brad Pitt plays Mickey O'Neil, the one-punch Pikey-Irish fighter.
Dennis Farina plays 'Cousin Avi', Britain's latest New York import in search of the missing 86 carat diamond.
Rade Serbedzija plays Boris 'The Blade', the Russian who just won't die.
Robbie Gee plays Vincent, 'Vinnie', diamond dealer by day, inept criminal by night. Lennie James plays SOL, Vinnie's equally clumsy but rationally keener partner in crime.
Vinnie Jones plays 'Bullet Tooth' Tony, the hit man employed by Cousin Avi to track down the diamond and settle the score with any meddlers.
Benicio Del Toro plays Franky 'Four Fingers', the four-fingered, gambling obsessed man assigned to heist the 86 carat diamond and send it to Cousin Avi.
Mike Reid plays Doug 'The Head', the black market's most notorious diamond aficionado.
Adam Fogerty plays Gorgeous George, Turkish's larger than life fighter who is undermined by one punch from the Pikey.