Two years after Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie returned with a film that looked, felt and almost smelt the same. Except this time around the story is about bare-knuckle fighting and diamond heists, and Brad Pitt (for the ladies) is playing an Irish tinker, just one of a number of silly ethnic stereotypes, which include Russian gangsters, Jewish jewellers and a Turkish boxing promoter called Turkish (played by Jason Statham, one minute before he launched his action hero career). Lock Stock traded in the same currency, you’ll remember. As well as Pitt, Snatch is studded with other non-British actors, such as Benicio Del Toro and Dennis Farina. Nevertheless it often feels closer to British comedies of the 1970s – The Confessions of… series or the On the Buses films – though you suspect that Ritchie thinks he’s walking in Tarantino’s shadow. Suck down the flash-harry camerawork and cheeky-chappie humour because the storytelling isn’t much to shout about and Ritchie’s politics are working hard at playing to the lads’ gallery – not very progressive. In spite of those shortcomings, most of which Ritchie would probably shrug off as deliberate or minor, Snatch has managed to pull off something far more outrageous than Madonna’s bra (you have to think your way back to the 1990s to find that line in any way amusing). It takes the most famous twisted British archetype – Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney in Mary Poppins – feeds him on steroids and foul language and then stuffs him right back down the nation’s insatiable gannet-like throats. And how they – the lads, anyway – loved it. Most of the women were too busy reflecting on Pitt’s physique in the boxing sequence to notice.
© Steve Morrissey 2013