Criss Cross Cockney Crime Comedy
Whilst there are different characters and situations "Snatch" feels like an extension of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", basically Guy Ritchie taking what he had already done and then showing what he could do with it with a bigger budget. As such "Snatch" operates very much in the same style as Ritchie's previous movie, we have various storylines which crash together, we get dark comedy and we have cockney dialogue riddled with expletives, the word "fuck" is said over 160 times. But what we also get thanks to the bigger budget is some star names and a bit more production whilst still retaining the energy and choppiness of the original. To put it simply "Snatch" works and remains Ritchie's best movie when it comes to this choppy, multi criss-crossing storylined movies.
Turkish (Jason Statham - Death Race) and his partner Tommy (Stephen Graham) have lined up a fight for Gorgeous George (Adam Fogerty) against one of Brick Top's (Alan Ford) fighters, except when Tommy took Gorgeous with him to get a new caravan from the Pikies, bare knuckle boxer Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt - Meet Joe Black) knocked him out and so Turkish needs Mickey to fight instead. Mean while Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) is in London having stolen a huge diamond in Antwerp, he is meant to be on his way to America to give it to 'Cousin' Avi (Dennis Farina) but a run in with Boris 'The Blade' (Rade Serbedzija) leads to difficulties when Boris gets Sol, Vinny and Tyrone (Lennie James, Robbie Gee, Ade) to rob Franky whilst robbing a bookies which just happens to belong to Brick Top.
So as Ritchie did in "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" we have several storylines going on, there is a diamond, there is a boxer, there are bookie robbers and Pikies and to be honest a few more. All these threads start separately but then crossovers appear as Franky Four Fingers who has the diamond ends up falling foul of a group of robbers employed by Boris 'The Blade' Yurinov who happen to hit the bookies owned by the vile Brick Top who has Turkish by the nuts over a boxing match. And so we get scenes where these threads come together, sometimes two of them finding themselves at the same place at the same time, sometimes three of them. But what we also get is after a couple of storylines collide it doesn't end there because they go on and interlink with the others later on. It means that anything can happen and what may seem completely separate can some how crop up in another story later on, making for an entertaining but relatively simple story.
But then the story is just part of what makes "Snatch" entertaining and you have the dark humour be it Brick Top giving the 3 robbers a lesson on how to use pigs to destroy a dead body or Bullet Tooth Tony learning first hand that Boris got his nickname 'bullet dodger' for a reason. It means that a lot of humour comes from the violence, a moment of dead pan delivery followed by something sharply funny as in when every Mickey O'Neil lands an unexpected punch to knock someone out. But it is also how all of this ends up, what happens to the characters, who survives and who doesn't and where the diamond ends up.
And alongside the dark humour you have the language which adds to the humour in an almost guilty way. Well come on, how wrong is it for someone to say "I hate Pikies" but we get it time and again. And then there is the way the Pikies and in particular the way Mickey speaks, so fast and slurred it is barely intelligible. Throw in the copious amounts of expletives and plenty of menacing dialogue about hurting people and it's hard not to smile from all the cacophony of cockney talk.
But what is very evident is that whilst Ritchie has used the increased budget to improve on the story and the styling he also used it to attract a few big name stars, although I imagine that some just wanted to work with Ritchie after the success of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". So whilst we get various regulars such as Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones and Jason Flemyng we also get the likes of Brad Pitt, Dennis Farina and Benicio Del Toro. But whilst it is fun to see these big names it is really the characters which makes it so good be it Alan Ford as the menacing Brick Top or Lennie James as Sol. It is the characters which make us laugh, the way they say things and react to others especially when it comes to Turkish and his almost patronising way of talking to Tommy.
What this all boils down to is that "Snatch" is Guy Ritchie showing us exactly how far he could take his criss-cross style cockney crime comedy when he had more money to spend. And it works because it still maintains that edgy, snappy and stylish elements whilst giving us a more elaborate story and a few more big names and characters.