Snatch (2000)
Directed by Guy Ritchie

Artistic & Entertainment Value
* * * ½

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When an enormous diamond is stolen in an armed robbery and then brought to London, the lives of various hoodlums, gangsters, and other shady individual are brought into contact with one another. A former KGB agent hires a group of petty thieves to rob a bookie and get the diamond. They botch the job and anger a vicious gangster, who is also threatening a seedy boxing promoter because the latter hired for a fight an unreliable traveller who failed to throw the match, causing the gangster some embarrassment. Meanwhile, an American crook who wants the lost diamond for himself comes to the assistance of his brother in London, who is himself looking for it, and employs a vicious hood to help him.

Guy Ritchie's Snatch is a fun, fast paced, and exciting movie. While it is unlikely to awe the viewer, it will probably provide him with an entertaining diversion.

By interweaving the stories of his various characters so that they affect and support one another, Ritchie has given the movie an engaging structure that, in itself, keeps the viewer's interest. The narrative's ability to intrigue the viewer is further enhanced by the presence of the director's invariably outlandish and exaggerated characters. Ritchie includes such eccentrics as a mob boss who lectures his potential victims about how to dispose of a body by feeding it to pigs, a Russian who lops off the hand of a corpse so he can take the briefcase handcuffed to it, and an incomprehensible traveller who tricks and cheats the same slowwitted persons over and over again.

Ritchie tosses this odd assortment of characters into a world of nonstop excitement, lurid violence, and genuine silliness. The complex plot relating such details is unfolded at a frenetic pace by means of narration, brief clips that convey some series of events in a matter of seconds, repetitions of scenes from varying perspectives, and the like. These devices are generally well used and ensure that the viewer is readily caught up in the film's kinetic whirlwind. The movie simply never slows down and never fails to present the viewer with something that either intrigues him, horrifies him, or makes him laugh. While I cannot say that I was ever truly awed by Snatch, I was never bored by it either. The movie is constantly fun. It is never inspired, but it is always engaging.

What is more, the quality of the acting is generally good and never distracts the viewer. The various characters with which the movie is filled are hardly the most complex or original to be found in cinema, but they are imbued with such a quirky sense of sheer pleasure that the viewer is likely to engage with them and be thrilled by their numerous picaresque adventures.

Snatch is a fun, exhilarating film. It may not be memorable, but it is well worth watching.

Review by Keith Allen

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