|Flying Squirrel Boxing Productions|
|The KO Picture Show|
|Presents. . .|
|"Brad Pitt gets to be cool again. My jealousy of him is trumped only by my desire to have a cool underworld nickname."|
|In my review of “Fight Club”, I expressed my desire to be as cool as Brad Pitt was in that particular film. But my complete lack of ab muscles yielded nothing but derisive snickers at the mall from every passerby, as I strutted around in Aviator glasses and a Medium-sized vintage “Mr. Bubble” t-shirt, bellybutton proudly showing. It’s not a good look for me… I’ll admit it. I also mentioned in the review that I was more of a snuggler than a fighter, so I’d have to find a new Pitt role to emulate. His role in “Snatch”, as a tough as nails gypsy named Mickey who knocks people out with a single blow probably won’t work for me either.
Pitt is just one of an enormous cast of seamy characters in “Snatch”. Rigged Fights, Murder, and Jewel Heists are all par for the course. And everyone’s got a cool nickname. It’s the way the criminal underworld SHOULD be. Trying to give more than a cursory synopsis of "Snatch" would quickly devolve into reciting favorite lines and trying to name your favorite character. We spend most of our time with Turkish (Stratham) and Tommy (Graham), two low-level criminals/fight promoters who end up owing a favor to the absolutely terrifying Brick Top (Ford), the highest ranking of the low-level criminals in London. Revolving around this plot are a number of other colorful (and hilarious) lowlifes; Bullet Tooth Tony (Jones), Boris the Bullet Dodger (Serbedzija), Vincent (James), Sol (Gee), Tyrone (Ade), Franky Four Fingers (Del Toro, at his MOST unintelligible since "The Usual Suspects"), and Avi (Farina, who's played this role in EVERY other movie and TV show he's in, but it never gets tired, in my opinion). It's a well-oiled, nearly all-male cast, and the barbs and swift turns of phrase and wit are balanced perfectly with slick photography and editing as well as a bombastic soundtrack. It’s a real manly work of art, sculpted by Guy Ritchie.
Guy Ritchie, director and writer of "Snatch" and the Material Girl's main squeeze (for now), is no stranger to what I like to call the "NEW" British Comedy dialogue. I don't have enough access to BBC sitcoms to definitively say he invented it, but he does have a knack for making it work in his 2 fantastic Crime-Comedies, "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" and this film.
The "OLD" British Comedy dialogue (a la "AbFab" and going back as far as "Fawlty Towers") was mainly highlighted by the "muttered punchline", a comic conceit that was definitely lost on a number of American viewers. It was all predicated on the universal stereotype of the "tirelessly polite Englishperson", and most of the "muttering" was a result of chafing against this courteous facade (while never actually breaking out of it). Of course, in the case of "AbFab", it was the wholesale REJECTION of this stereotype that drew the biggest laughs. But still, the muttering persisted. The "NEW" British Comedy dialogue can be illustrated as a simple formula:
- 2 conversants (1 Slightly Confused, 1 Indignant).
- Slightly Confused ("SC") does something/possesses something/reveals something.
- Indignant ("I") notices the "something" and inquires about it, usually ending the sentence with "SC's" proper name.
- "SC" says, very plainly, dead-pan, if you will, what the "something" is, and usually ends his sentence with "I's" proper name.
- "I" gets, of course, indignant, and wants to know WHY "SC" has the "something".
- "SC" gives his dead-pan explaination.
- "I" gets derisive and, for good measure, more indignant.
Indignant and Slightly Confused CAN swith roles, but Indignant always gets the funnier lines. Here are 2 examples of the exchanges:
From "Snatch" (Turkish is "I", Tommy is "SC"):
Turkish: Fuck me, hold tight. What's that?
Tommy: It's me belt, Turkish.
Turkish: No, Tommy. There's a gun in your trousers. What's a gun doing in your trousers?
Tommy: It's for protection.
Turkish: Protection from what? "Zee Germans"?
The switch, from "Lock, Stock, And Two...." (Eddie is "I", Soap is "SC"):
Eddie: They're armed.
Soap: Armed, armed with what?
Eddie: Err, bad breath, colorful language, feather duster... what do you think they're gonna be armed with? Guns, you tit!
Formulaic? Yes. But, very funny. Calling someone a "tit" is hilarious. Try it next time you're out with your friends.
|The Fightin'! -|
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|The marriage of editing, switched film stock, music, and visual & audio effects is orchestrated to perfection by Ritchie during the fight scenes. The most complimentary thing I can say is that Guy has managed to make a boxing movie staple like the "slow-mo knockout scene" seem fresh and new. Pitt is the star of the fighting footage. Aside from his almost embarassingly perfect physique, he's got a real knack for selling the receiving end of a staged punch. It looks like it hurts him, and, really, what more can you ask for? The atmosphere surrounding the boxing matches is equally fantastic, with the crowd looking as ferocious and terrifying as you'd imagine a back-alley boxing crowd to look. It's very good stuff.
Since "Lock, Stock, And Two...." and "Snatch", Ritchie has been in a definite slump. Far be it from me to suggest that the casting of his wife "Madge" in his 2 projects since the Crime-Comedy-Capers are the reason for his funk. He's teamed up with Jason Stratham again for "Revolver", which comes to the US in early 2006. I'm hoping he goes back to the "formula" in this release. I miss the snappy stuff. And I need some new curse words for my arsenal, an area that the UK has turned into a cottage industry. The Swiss make watches. The Germans make a fine automobile. And the UK makes it okay to tell someone not to get "biscuit-arsed" with real feeling.
|Overall Rating -|
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|Starring: Jason Stratham, Stephen Graham, Dennis Farina,
Benicio Del Toro, Vinnie Jones,
Brad Pitt, Rade Serbedzija,
Alan Ford, Robbie Gee,
Lennie James, Ade
|"Reviewing the best (and worst) in Pugilistic Pictures!"|