Film: Snatch


Cast includes: Brad Pitt (Ocean’s 11, etc.), Dennis Farina (Law & Order), Benicio Del Toro (Traffic), Vinnie Jones (X-Men: The Last Stand), Alan Ford (Exorcist: The Beginning), Jason Statham (The Transporter), Stephen Graham (Gangs of New York), Rade Serbedzija (Eyes Wide Shut), Robbie Gee (Prime Suspect: The Final Act)
Writer/director: Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes)
Genre: Comedy/crime/thriller (2000)

In brief: “What do I know about diamonds? Don’t they come from Antwerp?” This is how we meet Turkish. He and his partner, Tommy, are bare-knuckle boxing promoters. Cut to Antwerp… four Hasidic Jews are deep in Talmudic discussion as they go through building security. When the metal detector beeps on Franky’s crotch, in a thick Yiddish accent he asks, “What do you want I should do? Drop my pants?” Once inside, the guns come out. It’s a robbery, and they after “the big stone.” All this… before the opening credits.

Now back to London… When Turkish sends Tommy to buy a caravan (aka: camper trailer) from the pikeys (aka: fucking gypsies), things get messed up. “Do ya like dags?” “What are dags?” “Dags” are dogs in Pikey speak… and pikeys always throw a dog into the deal. Turkish explains to us, “You can’t really understand much of what’s being said. It’s not Irish. It’s not English. It’s just well… pikey.” So the upshot is that after some wacky twist and turns, Turkish and Tommy book a pikey named Mickey to fight in an underground boxing match.

In the meantime, that 86-carat diamond is on a detour headed for an underground boxing match… in a briefcase chained to the arm of Franky Four Fingers. But Franky’s detour is double-detoured when two guys from the pawnshop have been hired to relieve Franky of the briefcase. And by the way, the pawnshop guys just got a pikey “dag,” too. Now… I haven’t even mentioned Brick Top, who feeds those who cross him to the pigs. Nor have I mentioned the ruthless Russian named Boris… or Cousin Avi from New York, who’s also after that diamond. In fact, I’ve barely scratched the surface.

This is a comic strip of a movie… cheeky, irreverent, fast-paced, with more plot twists than you can possibly imagine. Snatch opened in 2000 to very mixed reviews, probably more negative than positive. But those who loved it… really loved it. In a moment of frustration, Avi demands, “Speak English! I thought this country spawned the fucking language, but nobody here seems to speak it!” Indeed, some of the dialects and rapid-fire dialog aren’t so easy to follow. But the filmmakers know that and have made it so the best lines aren’t hard to understand. And there are lots of very funny lines… assuming you enjoy very irreverent humor. Writer/director Guy Richie has become known for his directing style featuring lots of jump cuts and kinetic action. But this film wouldn’t really work without an excellent script… which it has.

popcorn rating

4 popped kernels

Fast action, bad language, good script, dark humor and good acting. Brad does a great job with a difficult part.

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