Snatch (2000) showed up in the mail from NetFlix the other day. I don’t remember ever hearing about it. I have no idea how it got onto my queue; it wasn’t even on my movie list. It was directed by Guy Ritchie, who directed the recent Sherlock Holmes movies (2009, 2011) with Robert Downey Jr., which I liked. Snatch had Brad Pitt in it, so I decided to give it a shot.
Set in the London underworld, unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and a supposedly Jewish jeweler fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond. Turkish (Jason Statham), an unlicensed boxing promoter, and his accomplice Tommy (Stephen Graham) get drawn into the world of match fixing by the notorious Brick Top (Alan Ford). Things become complicated when the boxer they had lined up gets hospitalized by Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt), a “piker” (slang for an Irish Gypsy) who comes into the equation after Turkish tries to buy a trailer off the Irish Gypsies. They then try to convince Mickey not only to fight for them, but to lose for them too. Whilst all this is going on, a huge diamond heist takes place, and a gang of motley characters enter the story, including 'Cousin Avi' (Dennis Farina), 'Boris The Blade' (Rade Serbedzija), 'Franky Four Fingers' (Benicio Del Toro), and 'Bullet Tooth Tony' (Vinnie Jones). Things continuously get worse and it all boils down to the money, the guns, and the stupid dog.
Snatch is a crime movie. There really isn’t a protagonist in this film; it’s all about a large number of deceitful characters with Dick Tracy-like names fighting, crossing, double crossing, and triple crossing one another as they all compete for the big diamond stolen at the opening of the film. The story line gets so complicated that it’s difficult to follow and keep up with who is allied in any given scene. There’s quite a bit of humor in this movie, usually caused by the characters themselves getting mixed up over who they are trying to rip off. If the characters can’t even keep up with the story, how is the audience supposed to? Each scene is pretty well done, and usually funny, but the way the scenes are strung together seems a bit awkward. I suppose the chaos, confusion, and resulting humor was the focus of this film, rather than the story. If that is the case, the movie achieves this quite well.
Brad Pitt has been great in most everything I’ve seen him in, and he really steals the show in Snatch. He plays an Irish Gypsy who talks fast and mumbled with an almost unintelligible thick accent that is an odd blend of Irish and British. That’s pertinent to his character, since Gypsies are fast talking con-men; the less you understand about the bargain, the easier it is for them to twist it to their advantage. It’s a running gag throughout the film that when Mickey says something, the other characters haven’t got a clue what he just said. You can’t really appreciate Pitt’s hysterical lines and accent without actually seeing the movie itself. Here's a clip to help illustrate:
Snatch is rated R for strong violence, language, and some nudity. The nudity is fairly covert, taking the form of “adult” playing cards in one scene. The violence wasn’t very graphic; most of it takes place off screen leaving us primarily with blood splatter images. I have not seen a movie drop the F-bomb this frequently since I saw Apocalypse Now (1979). This didn’t bother me much since I hear it at least as often at work, but it will likely offend some viewers who are not inundated with profanity on a regular basis.
Snatch was not really bad for a movie, just convoluted and a bit tricky to follow. I’m really not sure where the movie was trying to go; even the closing scene seemed like it was going to lead into another scene, but it ended instead. The humor seemed to be the drive in the movie, and it was pretty hilarious. I can’t really recommend the movie though. After the movie I was left thinking, “Well, what was the point of that?” It’s worth a few chuckles, but that’s all.