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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

So the other day John Robie and I pick up Harry and we head down to Sony where I’ve set up a screening of this film and we get there and we’re on the steps of the Thalberg and we run into McG and we start doing this sort of "Thanks" "Good Luck" dance and then we headed inside and went to the basement where we saw the film and man the film is just amazing it’s just packed with stuff like Brick Top and Boris the Butcher and the squeak toy dog and the replica guns and Dennis Farina and that last amazing boxing match and did I mention I love the squeak toy dog like I can't even tell you how much and gypsy scams and trans-Atlantic flights and that kickass bass line under the closing credits and Vinnie motherfucking Jones and after the screening we came bouncing out of the Thalberg just hooting about the film and we ran into some people and did some things on the lot I can’t quite tell you about but the whole time all we could do was babble about the film like we were drunk and...

Whoa. Jeez. Pardon me. I can’t help myself. That’s just the effect this exuberant new confection has on me every time I think about it. Guy Ritchie’s delirious new crime drama feels like this ecstatic rush of images and hilarious dialogue and ideas, all of it delivered with confidence by one of the wittiest new stylists in film, a Richard Lester for the 21st century.

I saw LOCK, STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS several times in the theater, taking friends back with me to show it to them. I was struck by that film’s energy, by the playful way it worked to reinvigorate a genre I was getting deadly tired of. I thought the cast was wonderful, fresh and funny faces that all seemed to get it, that all seemed tuned in to that same particular sensibility. To me, that film seemed like raw promise. Ritchie has fulfilled that promise and then some with his sophomore film. There’s an impressive command to the way he put this film together. He seems to have learned by almost quantum leaps from that first experience. In every way, SNATCH feels like an improvement over that first film, an expansion upon all the good ideas we saw there, with numerous invaluable additions to the palette Richie is using.

The word "clever" has somehow become a negative thing when most reviewers use it, but I mean it as high praise. Ritchie is a damn clever filmmaker. Ritchie in person projects a regular guy vibe, confidence without ego, and his film projects those same qualities. The title sequence is slick and communciates volumes and builds tension beautifully, and as soon as it ends, we’re off and running. Like RUN LOLA RUN or THE ROAD WARRIOR or PULP FICTION, this is a shot of cinemadrenaline direct to the pleasure center, a piece of entertainment that is art simply by how well it’s crafted.

I’m not even going to begin to spoil the film’s many charms for you this far out. We’re not looking at a US release for the film until after the New Year, although Sony would be smart to open it for a qualifying run in NY and LA sometime in December. Brad Pitt’s work here is strong enough to earn him a nomination. Mickey O'Neill is both uproariously funny and surprisingly touching. He manages to use some of the same swagger as Tyler Durden here without any of the menace. Mickey may be a ferocious bare knuckle boxer, but he’s also a mama’s boy, and that balance is what makes the character an original.

In fact, all these characters are originals. Vinnie Jones does a great job as Bullet Tooth Tony, Alan Ford is the very model of venal menace as Brick Top, Jason Statham and Stephen Graham make a sympathetic central duo as Turkish and Tommy, and Andy Beckwith, Rade Serbedzija, Benecio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, and Ade all hold their own places in delirious orbit around everyone else. I don’t think Ritchie’s films feel like they’re meant to be real. Instead, he’s taken his obviously extensive knowledge of London’s shady side and he’s turned it into something that is as unique and as much his as the worlds of Carl Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, or Quentin Tarantino. They’re all writers in the same basic genre, but it’s the flavor they each bring to things that makes them memorable and vital as artists. Ritchie joins their ranks easily with this film, and I hope that after he takes some time away from this genre (his next one looks to be a period film), he comes back and continues to texture in this fascinating portrait he’s begun painting.

The soundtrack to the film is packed with amazing music, but very little of it is new. Instead, it’s been chosen for effect with a keen ear, something that I always find impressive. When a studio and its record label arm forces a soundtrack on a film, it’s obvious. Even if there’s a few good songs in the mix, it’s the label sampler quality to things that ruins modern films. With SNATCH, there’s wit at work in every department, including this one, and when something like Massive Attack’s "Angel" is used, it packs a punch (all puns intended). I hope there are plans to release this early, as I’d love to get a copy of it immediately. It’s just another way Sony could help get the buzz started on the film, too, and I have a feeling they’re going to need all the help they can get.

It’s not that SNATCH is a hard film to market. Robie and Harry and I talked about this extensively after we watched the film. It’s really not difficult. It’s just that it will require a confident hand, and it will require some original handling by the studio. They need to send Ritchie and his film to colleges to speak directly to audiences, or to send the cast when Ritchie can’t attend. This is a cast that audiences are going to fall in love with. Who wouldn’t want to meet Tyrone right after the film ends? Who wouldn’t be terrified if Brick Top walked out? Let college audiences see the film and let them find it without an obnoxious hype campaign that tells them how "hip" the film is. It’s astonishingly hip, but in the real sense of the word, not the prepackaged one. It’s hip because it works so very well, not because a giant ad campaign says it is.

The title isn’t an issue. Sony released a film called DICK last year, so they can certainly release one called SNATCH this year. It’s a heist film. Yes, it’s a double entendre, but that’s a good thing. Ritchie’s a provocateur with enough sense to know that he’s got to make a film that justifies the title, and he does. If there’s controversy, then good. People will be talking about the film, and that’s exactly what the studio should want to have happen. The people who are too offended by the title to show up at the theater weren’t going to have a good time, anyway. Trust me on this one. If you’re so painfully tightassed that you don’t get a smile out of an ad campaign that promises SNATCH is "opening wide this spring", then there’s probably bigger things for you to worry about than this heist picture’s easily justified moniker.

Anyway... I don’t expect that this will be my definitive review of SNATCH. I actually want to see it again closer to release and write about it then, when I won’t feel like someone who’s giving away your Christmas presents to you in June. That's when I'll rave about the sumptuous photography by Tim Maurice-Jones and the whiplash editing by Jon Harris and Les Healey. Until then, just know that you’re in for a treat whether you live in the UK, where it’s already open and doing kick-ass business, or whether you’re like me, stuck in the States, where we could have used this film during this long, dry summer just past. No use crying over spilt milk. SNATCH is just around the corner, and it’s everything you could want from this type of movie, more fun than I could have ever expected. If this is an indicator of the kind of talent Ritchie and his producer Matthew Vaughn have to offer us in their future ventures, then we’re in for a whole string of treats to come.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 25, 2000, 8:08 a.m. CST

    Its for me mother...

    by reni

    Snatch is good. It takes a bit longer to find it's feet than Lock Stock. And getting Nick Moran back in the film instead of Jason Satham would've been a better idea, 'cos Statham isn't the most charismatic of the original gang. But the characters are funnier, stronger. And the fight sequence at the end is fucking awesome. It rocks. And normally I hate Guy Ritchie... I might actually buy this in the New Year...

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Gotta love Del Toro

    by X-Mole

    Is the best thing in this. He is so good I almost exploded, and he's barely in it... the 'main' guy, Turkish, is the least well written character, and he's the narrator. God I hated the narration in this movie. And there's so much of it... whatever happened to "show, don't tell"? Jason Stratham... not a good actor. Apart from that, really good. Especially Del Toro! But Stratham/Turkish brings it down from 5 stars to 4 for me.

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 8:51 a.m. CST

    If it ain't broke....

    by RP McMurphy

    Have to let people know that Snatch is a virtual remake of Lock, Stock - multiple characters/storylines, fast and furious direction and violent/comic situations. Not that this is bad: Casino was Goodfellas II and it was great too. Put simply if you like Lock, Stock, you'lll like this For what it's worth, Alan Ford, Brad Pitt, the mighty Mike Reid and Bencio del Toro rock. Jason Statham, Dennis Farina and the three black guys don't. Thats it in a nutshell and Ritchie won't get away with it again, so hope he turns to a nice gentle period drama/romance...

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 8:54 a.m. CST

    I love me snatch i do

    by Meat Takeshi

    I prefered this to LS2SB, both entertaining but Snatch has the depth (G), Brad Pitt is funny as in it but i think Oscar nods are a touch optimistic. How can you reveiw this movie without mentioning Mike Reid, although i suppose he means nothing to a US audience. Also nice to hear the Specials on the soundtrack too. Richie seems to be on an upward curve with A Hard Case, LS2SB and Snatch all improving on each other. Lets just see what happens with this epic sword and sandals thing he is talkig up. "Oi thats my toga you cahnt, git yer own facking chariot you fackin monkey."

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 9:12 a.m. CST

    by Marty McSuperfly

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Snatch is to LS2SB what Desparado is to El Mariachi

    by Marty McSuperfly

    I didn't like LS2SB quite as much as everyone else did, but Snatch is definitely an improvement, if you can overlook the fact that it is essentially a bigger budget remake. I was actually wondering if the title refers to what Guy Ritchie did to the plot! *Marty falls off his seat guffawing at his own wonderous joke*

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Takeshi, you Suvern' Fairy....

    by reni

    I love it when you talk all 'Cockney' on us!

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Very slick.

    by Steda Tibro

    Saw this movie last night and really enjoyed it. Pitt rocks, couldn't understand a feckin word he said. Have to agree that Statham was a bit flat, would definetely have preferred Moran. Bullet Tooth sat in the pub staring down the barrels was sheer class. Mike Reid as Frank Butcher in Eastenders should introduce a bit of Doug the Head to his repertoire as my wife insists I watch the cockney soap with her and this would make it much more bearable.

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 9:35 a.m. CST

    You're a diamond geezer moriarty

    by voight-kampff

    Anyone that disagrees with this review is having a turkish.

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 9:49 a.m. CST

    by moppet

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 9:51 a.m. CST

    looking forward to snatch but

    by moppet

    I am looking forward to snatch but your statement saying that a bare-knuckled fighter who is a mommas boy isn't that original. It was done in any which way but loose and any which way you can, You know Clint and the monkey

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Saw it a month ago over the pond..

    by CourierTheBold

    What a TOP TOP movie! I would say "film" but that doesn't do it justice.."Forehead tapping GENIUS" does it justice. I don't care that the characters have different names /actors...this IS a sequel to Lock,Stock in almost every sense.. Have to see it again, going cold turkey...must see it again...

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Snatch - Opening wide this Fall

    by narf

    Laugh if you like, but that's a REAL tag line in the U.K. Expect to see the title changed to something like "Snatch'd" when it hits our shores. People just have dirty minds. You know what George Carlin sez: "Let's snatch that pussy and put her in a box!".

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 11:48 a.m. CST

    What? It wasn't that good.

    by TheDapperDanMan

    Snatch is nothing like as great as Lock, Stock is. I could never really understand why people thought that Guy Ritchie ripped off Tarantino after he made his first film but Snatch just seems to take the piss. It's full of scenes that are basically cut and paste jobs from films like Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects.

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 11:52 a.m. CST

    I hate fucking pikies...

    by Tids

    Bigger, badder, bolder, better. And we get it months before the States, sweet!

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 2:10 p.m. CST

    England Isn't Really Like This You Know!

    by rossgiles

    We don't all run roung calling eachother 'cants' you know! Ritchie is a good filmmaker but he needs to break out of the 'gangster as hero' mould if he is to be taken seriously. Then again, I really don't think he wants to be! For all its plaudits, 'Losk, Stock...' was another heist movie in similar vein to 'The Italian Job'. Lets hope that 'Snatch' does not spawn any piss poor imitations with either Sean Pertwee, Ray Winstone or Jude Law. Or, heaven forbid, all three!

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Snatch again

    by heavyload

    Snatch is open all across england. And , its definietly not a sequel to LS2B, more of a continuation. Its like LS2B with different filmstocks, slomo, bullettime, all those little gizmos thrown in. not a reinvention, not new, not original, just more of the same, flashier, snazzier, more stylish. Still substance? fuck it. We got all the pop-video tricks you need - as outlined above. the plot doesn't seem to make sense for about half an hour, in which time it feels like a caricature of LS2B. The plot twists are unpredictable and constantly turning, though not unexpected as veyr much in the syle of LS2B. As long as its promoted low key as a slow burnwer it should be huge. Brad Pitt is excellent and totally unintelligible. Good, but seems stale if you've seen LS2B. Like reinventing the wheel as octagonal. But if you've never seen a wheel know what i mean heavyload

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Ritchie's best work is still Madonna

    by Lazarus Long

    This guy could never make another film and he'd still be the guy who knocked up the Material Girl. You can't really beat that. As for the quality of the soundtrack, my guess is that Madonna had a hand in this, which would be proven if it's on her Maverick record label. The inclusion of Massive Attack leads me to believe this might be the case, she's down with that scene. I still think Lock, Stock and Barrel is all sound and fury (Reservoir Dogs took a bit more time w/ character development and motivation), but it wasn't boring. Hopefully this won't be another cool-shit-in-search-of-a-story film.

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 5:57 p.m. CST

    I like snatch too...

    by Tin Snoman

    But I haven't seen the movie yet. I liked LS2SB though. Of course I thought it was a comedy. My friends said "No, Tin, it was a crime drama. I mean it had a few funny parts..." And I said "Whaddaya mean? It was a riot the whole way through. People getting shot, catching on fire, and Sting was in it!" I dunno. I thought it was funny. Well, gotta go. As my loyal readers know, Saffron's in my shower- and I think she's getting out. Hope she likes the taste of fresh carrot...'cuz I'm looking forward to Snatch. This has been Tin Snoman- about to get jiggy with it!

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 7:07 p.m. CST

    Snatch is lovely.

    by volcanic

    I saw Natch a couple of weeks ago &, frankly , it's one of the best film's - excluding Hi Fidelity - that I've seen this year. The editing is absolutely brilliant & the story move swith a pace that keeps you glued to the screen but never sems to shake you off the seat & lose track of where each thread of the story is going. Bloody brilliant. Out Mh

  • Sept. 25, 2000, 11:29 p.m. CST

    Quentin thanks you

    by cds

    His dick was sore from being sucked by all the geek fanboys. He's happy to let someone else take all the faux adulation for awhile.

  • Sept. 26, 2000, 12:47 a.m. CST

    Tids, If you hate fucking pikeys, then don't fuck pikeys. Rossgi

    by Monty Python

    ...Somed day they'll make a decent movie and then you'll of it! Um, so there!

  • Sept. 26, 2000, 1 a.m. CST

    Opening wide on Scour Exchange this weekend

    by wash

    ...and I'm not condoning it, I'm just stating the obvious. That's what happens when you have such staggered release dates.

  • Sept. 26, 2000, 1:18 a.m. CST

    Madonna's Lucky Star is in the Snatch soundtrack

    by frozen98

    And Guy Ritchie thought he could get it for free, but I guess Madonna still made sure he paid her tons of royalty for using it.

  • Sept. 26, 2000, 5:23 a.m. CST

    Oh the humanity...

    by Tids

    Monty Python, you truely are a comical genius!

  • Sept. 26, 2000, 5:32 a.m. CST

    What Can I say?

    by Monty Python

    I'm Fahckin Geezer int I? A bit Fahckin "wooooh", A bit Fahckin "Waaaay". You wanna watch that, I'll Fahckin have that away wiv me, innit?

  • Sept. 26, 2000, 6:36 a.m. CST

    snatch was way better than most movies this summer

    by manicdepressive

    I think Snatch will beat all of the summer movies (apart form x-men & nurse betty). So even if some of did not like it, IMHO it deserves all the goodthings that has been said about it. It totally cracked me up. Suprising performance from Pitt (Ed Norton was so good in Fight Club I hardly noticed Pitt there- and I confess I saw Joe Black)

  • Sept. 26, 2000, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Carbon Copy of Lock Stock

    by Rule Britannia

    While Snatch is not a bad film it is exactly the same as Lock Stock and two Smoking Barrels (all be it with better actors). Moriarty says he hopes Ritchie returns to this genre after his next film. I think that would be a mistake since he's already pushed his luck with this one. If Lock Stock had been more widely seen in the US then he wouldn't have got away with this film. By all means go see this film as it is certainly worth a look but seek out Lock Stock on video which is the superior film. PS. (on a completely unrelated note I thought I'd kick start the oscar campaign early) OLIVER REED for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Sept. 26, 2000, 3:30 p.m. CST

    i like snatch

    by |\/|

    see above

  • Sept. 27, 2000, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Seen the Tee shirt

    by northern monkey

    They should pin open the eyes of coma patients Clockwork Orange style and show them this film.You stagger out of the cinema and blink look at your friend (or hired escort) and say "What the fuck?". Its brilliant from start to finish and the pace makes Micheal Johnston look sluggish. Its like an Uma Thurman shot of pure adrenaline right to the heart. Its much better than Lock, Stock and it makes living in the cold wet Uk seem almost worthwhile to see this first. Thankyou and goodnight.

  • Sept. 27, 2000, 10:50 p.m. CST

    Guy Ritchie's Garage

    by mind_guerilla

    Whenever I hear about this movie, all I can see is Madonna's inflamed, infected, cheese-dripping taco. Anyone else?

  • Sept. 28, 2000, 6:13 a.m. CST

    What, proper fucked?

    by northern monkey

    They should pin open the eyes of coma patients Clockwork Orange style and show them this film. Me and my girlfriend (Oh alright hired escort) walked out of the cinema blinked and said "What the hell was that". To say it was fast moving would like be saying John Goodman was a little chubby. Its lightening. Like a Uma Thurman shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. Better than Lock, Stock by 18 centimeters.

  • April 3, 2005, 6:25 p.m. CST

    by GrammarPolice