Director Guy Ritchie could do small crime thriller/comedies again and again, and I'd be more than happy. With "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and now "Snatch", the director has shown a stunning visual style, the ability to write fantastically sharp dialogue and come up with wild, fun characters. "Snatch" takes all of these elements to the next level. It's not without it's flaws, but even at it's worst it still remains wonderfully watchable.
As for the story, you practically need a road map to work things out, but to Ritchie's credit, he makes things very easy to follow. We start off with Frankie Four-Fingers(Bencio Del Toro) and his gang stealing a very large diamond. One of the gangsters named Boris the Blade attempts to contstantly steal it. There's also an American named Avi(Dennis Farina) who wants to get his hands on it and looks to a guy named Bullet Tooth to find him. There's also another gang who finds themselves in trouble they become involved with the entire operation.
Elsewhere, a couple of boxing promoters named Turkish (Jason Statham) and Tony lose their boxer in a match and find a new one in a Gypsy that no one can understand (a hilarious Brad Pitt). The only problem is, if he doesn't go down in a certain round, the two are going to be in a great deal of trouble with a boxing promoter named Brick Top. That's not even all the characters, although I must mention a cute little dog who swallows a squeak toy and ends up squeaking throughout the rest of the movie - it gives a great little supporting performance.
It's that all of these stories come together at one point or another that makes "Snatch" so fun to watch. They don't come together as much as they collide. Ritchie also puts to use a wealth of entertaining camera tricks throughout the movie; rather than just seeming like gimmicks, they give the movie an additional burst of energy. Another source of energy is the rapid pacing of the film - it doesn't walk, it runs throughout. The director makes great use of music during the film, as well.
Performances are also excellent. Del Toro is good in a small role, Statham is very good and Pitt is great, as well. Much of "Snatch" is humourous - sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and it's only when it gets a little more serious that it doesn't seem quite as electric. There always seemed to be a joke or gag around the corner to lighten the mood, though.
Yes, "Snatch" isn't too different than Ritchie's first film, but I think it's still a pretty great piece of work, balancing out and directing a massive cast with confidence, putting together a wildly twisty story and keeping things moving, I think he's done a fine job. The DVD presents the UK edition, with about a minute of extra footage.
VIDEO: "Snatch" is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As usual, Tristar has done a wonderful job with the picture quality, which is only subtracted from by a couple of very slight flaws. Sharpness and detail are not one of them, though. Although there is one scene that Ritchie points out during the commentary was apparently unintentionally soft, the rest of the movie looks terrific - there's a very nice amount of depth to the image in many of the scenes, and the picture looks consistently well-defined.
I didn't really notice any major flaws with the image, but there were a couple of print flaws now and then that popped up, but just as quickly dissapeared. There certainly wasn't much in the way of wear, nor was the minimal wear at all distracting. No edge enhancement or pixelation appears; the image does occasionally have a bit of a "gritty" feel at times, but that's intended and it looks exactly like it did when I saw it on opening weekend several months back.
The film's color scheme is pretty subdued throughout the movie, but there are spots of brighter colors. Either way, colors look accurate and well-rendered, with no problems. Black level is strong and flesh tones are accurate, as well. A very good presentation. A full_frame edition is accessable from the main menu.
SOUND: "Snatch" comes carrying a wonderful Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Although it's not highly or consistently agressive, during the film's most intense sequences, surround effects fly out excitingly. Surrounds are also nicely used for some occasional ambient sounds. The score is also peerfectly paired with the scenes in the movie. From the Specials' terrific "Ghost Town" to some techno tracks to even the director's wife's early "Lucky Star". Although some of the music comes from the front, the music also is often offered by the surrounds. It really helps energize the already intense picture.
Audio quality is excellent throughout. There's some decent bass in the movie on ccasion and overall very good fidelity. Dialogue sounded natural and clear, although many people will likely have trouble understanding the heavy accents at times.
MENUS:: Lively animated menus with score and nicely done film-themed animation. On the second disc, select up and right for a rather odd extra feature.
Commentary: This is a commentary from director Guy Ritchie and producer Matthew Vaughn. It's an extremely amusing and entertaining track as the two bicker back and forth hilariously about particular scenes. Ritchie is also completely honest about what he thinks about certain aspects of the film - for the early cut of the film that lasted three hours Ritchie says "I slept through two hours of it" before cutting it down to its currently speedy running time. The two have some great stories to tell about what went on during filming, and they're able to keep the discussion going throughout the entire film. Both seem to be having a great time laughing about their memories of working on the picture. There's one point where they've apparently been told to talk about more "technical" details, but they instantly start bickering again. It's a great track and I wish that no one had been telling the two to change towards a more straight-forward discussion since they were doing a fine job on their own.
Making Snatch: Apparently, chess was a popular game on the set of "Snatch". It's featured again here in this 25 minute documentary where actor Jason Statham interviews director Ritchie over a game of chess. Most of the running time, thoug, is behind-the-scenes footage of the cast/crew at work or being interviewed. As we meet many of the crew members, we find out more about their role in the picture and, as a result, learn more about how the film was made and how specific scenes were achieved. Similar to the commentary track, there's a lot of witty humor throughout and jokes at the expense of other members of the crew. A very entertaining look at the making of the film and well worth a look.
Deleted Scenes: There are six deleted scenes included. On the first disc, while you're watching the movie, you can select the Stealing Stones option, and if you do, a diamond pops up and, after selecting it, the scene plays and you're then brought back into the film proper. On the second disc, these scenes are also included on their own, but you also have the choice of optional commentary from the director and producer. These are presented full_frame.
Storyboard Comparison: You can choose to watch the storyboards versus the final scene for "Introduction to Characters", "Avi Goes To London" and "The Big Fight", or you can watch these storyboards on their own.
Video Photo Gallery: About five minutes of still production photos.
Also: 3 U.S. TV Spots. Trailers for "Snatch" (both US Trailer and UK Teasers), Go, Dogma, The Professional, Lady From Shanghai, Dr. Strangelove and the upcoming John Carpenter's "Ghosts Of Mars". Another Mars film, and that's all I'll say about that. Look in the inside insert for production notes, which list the fines that Ritchie took if people were late, etc.
Final Thoughts: "Snatch" is a terrific dark comedy - it's not for everyone, but for those who like films like "Pulp Fiction" (but with more humor), it's definitely worth a look. Tristar has done a very nice job on the disc, with great audio/video quality and excellent supplemental features. Highly Recommended.