Movie Review: Guy Ritchie’s noir crime comedy

by Liam Smith ’20

Guy Richie’s second feature-film, Snatch, is a crowd-pleasing British gangster movie. It may not have the deepest narrative, though. Other reviewers fault it for its lack of depth in themes and characterization. Yet, the movie’s superb editing gives the early 2000’s flick a stylized role in its zeitgeist.

Before Snatch, an indie filmmaker by the name of Quentin Tarantino debuted his career with a low production gangster flick called Reservoir Dogs. The movie won numerous international awards upon its release in 1992, and paved the way for directors to implement more nonlinear storytelling with slick dialogue and inconsequential violence. 

Snatch is Britain’s answer to the Reservoir Dogs template. Instead of bright American colors, Richie uses drab earthy colors with greenish tint. Instead of vulgar name-calling, dry sarcastic humor permeates in each scene. Dialogue is still quick, but filled with English slang. With so many similarities to an already successful movie, one would think that the above-mentioned movie should be good by default. The movie is great! Within the time period, however, people had already seen this tested formula with Pulp Fiction, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Goodfellas, Fight Club, etc. That’s why the movie’s meta critic score is at an astounding 55/100 while the user review—complete with people who have watched it outside of 2000–-rate it 8.8/10.

The story might not be The Godfather, though. It writhes and twists like an alligator being wrestled with. The viewer even forgets the main mulligan everyone is inadvertently chasing—“a diamond the size of a mist’’—until the very end where it serves as a neat little bow to close the story. These flaws are nit-picky when accounting for the role of the movie. It’s a comedy at heart that doesn’t warrant such harsh expectations. The editing puts on a clinic for how to creatively show and not tell. Instead of having longer sequences for mundane tasks, the characters often move through to key points at breakneck speed with creatively quick cuts and montages. 

The movie is perfect for aspiring filmmakers in need of newer presentation strategies. It succeeds in putting hearty laughs in the average non-pretentious person. Therefore, it deserves high praise and consideration for being one of the top 100 or so movies of all time.