I’ll admit, after coming up with such a fun string of emojis for my last movie review, I played around with the notion of continuing to create emoji strings for this and subsequent ones. Ultimately, though, I’m just not quite that creative, and there’s no way I could sustain that over the long haul.
Having said that, the emoji string for the next film on the reviewing roster—Guy Ritchie’s Snatch—came pretty easily, so at least I was able to make this a running gag of sorts. (Perhaps a jogging one?)
Anyhow: Snatch. Guy Ritchie. I remember when Ritchie hit it big with this film and its predecessor, but these sort of British gangster flicks aren’t my bag, so I kept Ritchie in my roster of “filmmakers I’ve heard of but not seen” until the Robert Downey Jr.-led Sherlock Holmes. I will also admit to having a guilty-pleasure sort of fondness for 2015’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
But honestly, I probably never would have gotten around to seeing either of Ritchie’s early hits had Snatch not come up on that 100 Movies Bucket List.
After having watched the film and done a tiny consultation with Professor Google, I find myself very confused as to why the Bucket List featured this film instead of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels: it seems to me as if the general consensus goes that the debut film has an energy and originality that Snatch doesn’t entirely quite capture. Having only watched the later of the two films, I can’t make those sorts of informed judgements.
What I can say is was that the film was okay. The twists and turns of this heist caper are so coincidence-driven that you can’t take them seriously. But I don’t think you’re supposed to take them seriously. Think of this film like a French farce. An exceedingly bloody and foul-mouthed French farce, but a farce nonetheless. The plot juggernauted forward with enough kinetic energy that it was a fun sort of ride, the acting ensemble was solid with a few standouts (Benicio Del Toro, Brad Pitt, and Ade, especially), and Ritchie’s visual language and humor had enough flair to add to the film’s enjoyment factor.
But for all of that, it was more style than substance, and even the stylishness wasn’t interesting enough to make much of an impression on me. For all that I could admire specific performances, most of the characters were such cardboard caricatures that I didn’t really have a rooting interest for any of these guys. Yeah, I’m vaguely glad that the nice(r) guys got rewarded at the end and the reprehensible sadist/murderer types got their bloody just desserts, but that gladness is only a notch or two above not caring at all.
I’m wondering now if I’d have enjoyed Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels any more than I enjoyed Snatch. If one of the main complaints about Snatch is it was too derivative of its predecessor, that also suggests a high enough degree of stylistic and thematic similarity between the two films that I ‘d bet I might end up with a similar degree of ennui watching either of Ritchies first two films. Which I get is really weird, considering his reputation for kinetic energy, fast cuts in editing, and adrenaline-fueled sequences.
But that’s how I felt about Snatch. It was fine. Didn’t hate it. Just kind of a yawn.
Image credit: Photo taken by the author, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.