Also reviewed: DANCER IN THE DARK Recommended

From October 2000
Film Review

Film Review Hotline
5 Stars; Excellent

Guy Ritchie and his cast talk about making Snatch in this issue...

Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina,
Mike Reid, Alan Ford,
Jason Statham, Brad Pitt

DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie
CERTIFICATE: 18 • DISTRIBUTOR and Picture copyright: Columbia TriStar
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 43mins
OPENING DATE (UK): September 1

Taking the mickey: Jason Statham and Brad Pitt

It should be a mess. There’s too much going on. The plots become increasingly knotted and halfway through the movie there’s the worrying suspicion that the story will never work itself out. It’s great to be so absolutely wrong.

From the initial snatch, with a very lovely diamond landing in very un-lovely hands, to the bare-knuckle fight that’s the astonishing finale, nothing is wasted and virtually every performance simply shines.

It all starts simply enough, but gets dangerously complicated, for bare-knuckle fight promoter Turkish (Statham). He’s had enough of working out of a dilapidated caravan and wants a new one to act as his office. Expecting a bit of bother with the ‘pikies’ who he wants to buy a caravan from, he takes his prize fighter. But Turkish hasn’t reckoned on the power of Mickey (Pitt) who, with a single punch, can floor anyone.

Suddenly without a fighter, Turkish is in a bit of bother with big-time Brick-Top (Ford), as they’d scheduled a fight in only a few days time. So Turkish has the unenviable position of persuading Mickey not only to fight but, to pay back Brick-Top for the hassle, has to make him dive in the fourth round.

If that wasn’t enough, all the while there’s the plot(s) about the missing diamond, the pawnbroker who, with a couple of useless mates, holds up a bookmakers, and a killer-for-hire after anyone with information on the diamond.

What this film isn’t, however, is very funny. If you’re expecting Cockney banter and a quip for all occasions, you’re in for a disappointment. Sure there’s humour, but it’s often hard to laugh at. And that’s what this film is: hard. It’s a mean bastard of a movie that shows no respect to anyone (while thankfully acknowledging an audience’s intelligence), and is so in-yer-face you feel you should move back a few rows from the screen. Ritchie grabs you by the short-and-curlies and then threatens them with amputation.

Central to the plot is our ‘hero’ Turkish (and Statham should make his name with the movie) but opposite to him is the Brick-Top, a creation so vile you worry for the scriptwriter. Alan Ford’s psychopathic gangster gives a new definition to criminally insane. Forget your Hannibal Lecters, your Norman Bateses because Brick-Top beats them all, probably with an army of thugs, massive knives and some very hungry pigs. But every cast member has their chance to shine and particular mention must go to Mike Reid as the ersatz Jewish jeweller who finds that he’s found himself mixed up with very bad company.

It’s a hard film and it’s a not a fair film. Not everyone gets their just desserts and it’s sometimes not an easy film to watch, especially when Brick-Top goes full throttle. But Ritchie’s story grips the viewer and, with a style that’s sometimes reminiscent of Trainspotting and performances that are pitch-perfect, Snatch is one of the very best films of the year.

Neil Corry

Read our massive reviews section in this month's Film Review
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.

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Also reviewed online this month:
5 Stars
DANCER IN THE DARK • released September 15


5 Stars; Excellent
Billy Elliott • Sept 29
Nurse Betty • Sept 1

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Sept 8 • Shaft

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Sept 8 • Liberty Heights
Sept 29 • Love and Sex
Sept 8 • The Luzhin Defense
Sept 25 • Titus
Sept TBCHotel Splendide