Gangster Movie Month: "Snatch" Review


Gangster Movie Month: "Snatch" Review

-- Rating: R
Length: 102 minutes
Release Date: Jan. 19, 2001
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Genre: Crime/Thriller
Cast: Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Benicio Del Toro

The first word that comes to mind when one mentions the movie "Snatch" is hysterical; the second word is ridiculous. This zany flick ramps up international criminal buffoonery to its finest; there really isn't another movie quite like it. Egotism mixed with incompetence equates to some extremely funny scenarios as these misfits in crime bungle every opportunity that crosses their paths. This is a must-see for those of you who love a good crime story and appreciate a few good laughs to boot. Oh, and there's a dog too.

"Snatch" starts out with a narration by Turkish (Jason Statham). He ruminates over details involving heist scenes, car chases, and the basic hijinks of a few local and international criminals who are trying to get one over on each other. Turkish sends his cohort Tommy (Stephen Graham) and his boxing champ, Gorgeous George (Adam Fogerty), to visit a gypsy campground to purchase a caravan. Once the sale goes bad, Gorgeous George and Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt) must fight to decide the outcome of the caravan sale. As it turns out, O'Neil wins the fight, and Tommy eventually asks him to bare-knuckle box in an upcoming match-if he is willing to take a dive. O'Neil states he will, but he wants a new caravan for his mom in return. This request sets in motion a string of events, and this eventually leads to the loss of O'Neil's mother when her caravan burns to the ground. Down, but not out, the Irish will return. In the meantime, pawnbrokers attempt to rob bookies, Franky Four Fingers loses a limb along with his life, and a ridiculous ending to a multitude of characters occurs via a couple of bar and car scenes.

"Snatch" has an all-star cast that includes Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Lennie James, and Rade Serbedzija to name a few, but the three stars that truly stand out are Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, and Benicio Del Toro. Brad Pitt engages the audience in his role as Mickey O'Neil, an Irish gypsy.

Although you will constantly try to understand what this fast talker is saying, it soon becomes abundantly clear that no one is capable of understanding him. Despite-or possibly because of-this idiosyncrasy, Pitt easily enamors the audience with his spot-on performance of an Irish gypsy who boxes. For this achievement, he won the Golden Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor in a comedy or musical. Jason Statham plays Turkish, an all-business type of gangster; he is the only character that seems to have a bit of sense, which garners the viewer's sympathy vote. With an authentic performance, he will leave you with a sense of those days when things just don't go your way. In appreciation of this role, Statham won the Best British Actor category at the Empire Awards. Finally, we have Benicio Del Toro, who personifies Franky Four Fingers. As soon as you see him and his "gang of rabbis" attempt a diamond heist, he'll have you hooked. Moreover, his flashbacks to his gambling days only stoke the love you feel for this character as "Viva Las Vegas" plays in the background. Overall, this diverse crew of misfit characters keeps you smiling in a film that everyone should see.

Guy Ritchie of "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" notoriety directed "Snatch." Although "Snatch" did not claim any nominations from the Academy Awards, it did receive nominations for alternative awards from the Dinard British Film Festival; Empire Awards, UK; Golden Trailer Awards; Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA; National Board of Review, USA; Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards; and the Satellite Awards. Of these nominations, Guy Ritchie won the Empire Award for Best British Director while the Best British Actor award went to Vinnie Jones. "Snatch" claimed the special recognition award for excellence in filmmaking by the National Board of Review, USA. In addition, it won the Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in a Foreign Feature by the Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA.

"Snatch" is a story based on bungled crime jobs. It comprises two main story lines: one involves a diamond heist and the other, an illegally fixed boxing syndicate. "Snatch" is insanity run amok among thieves where the majority of its characters are apparent idiots of the obvious. It will leave you shaking your head at the idiocy and laughing at the absurdity. "Snatch" captures the viewer from start to finish, and it's quite possible you will feel compelled to watch "Snatch" again.

Rating: 4 out of 5