Snatch (2000, Guy Ritchie)


The searing irony of this blistering masterwork begins when it looks like rabbis — rabbis, man! — are coming into a building and yet it turns out they’re not there to rabbi after all! They’re there to steal a diamond! And when they start to rob the bank, maverick filmmaker Guy Ritchie just makes you feel all of the heat, all of it, by turning the camera upside down and slowing everything down to make you really think about the meaning of what’s happening while the shot changes every 0.22 seconds!! There are also intertitles and other bits of trickery that are extremely clever, cute and funny. The stylistic hipness of it all is very very meaningful and not at all desperate.

The flagrant badassery continues when we meet the cast. These guys are so cool, how can you not want to be just like them!? There’s the fathead Americans, the thug Brits and the black guys, all of whom are real guys’ guys, real alpha hero types. The tough guys want caravans, one of them wants it for his mom, and it’s hilarious because you wouldn’t expect real macho dudes to care about stuff like that! Like doing stuff for their moms! It recalls the insight of other great movies about men, and the fact that they feel things.

[Research Ritchie’s opinion on capitalism’s relationship to organized crime, also his knowledge of the broad ethnographic shorthand in play in his script and put paragraph about it here]

Chaos, chaos, chaos and it never gets boring! Ritchie has got to be the most innovative director to emerge from his home country between the years 1997 and 1998. In Snatch he offers one of the great film setpieces; he does this thing where the dog swallows the diamond! But actually he didn’t swallow the diamond! But then he does swallow the diamond! Every minute of this fine production is packed with such densely layered, subtle ironies. Watch Snatch today if you find callous violence, wanky camera moves and flashy editing as deeply endearing and soundly artful as I do.

[Posted before in 2000-something, I forget]

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