Monday, September 5, 2011

Devon #4 = Snatch

Like Tarantino meets It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but surprisingly leaning more toward the latter, snatch is a madcap ride. For the uninitiated, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was a 1963 film which followed a group of wacky characters on separate, but often intersecting, paths to finding a dead mans buried treasure. It featured slapstick comedy at its best, a fun, twisting plot, and a overall silly tone, all of which can be seen in snatch. In fact, if you just replaced a recently deceased guy's cache with a stolen diamond (well, and a few boxing matches), cut the run time by at least an hour, and give the whole thing a big injection of the London underground, and you would have something halfway like Snatch. To get there completely, you would have to infuse snatch's inventive cinematography and dialogue, which feel like something from a Quentin Tarantino flick. There are long tracking shots and weird angles throughout the film, and the editing moves like a bat out of hell, leading to a some of the comedy coming from strange, half second cuts. The film  has many other strong points, such as its great use of chance encounters to shape the plot (apparently this is called causality, my new favorite word), a minimum amount of gore that helps keep the violent events from being too dark, and great casting with Brad Pitt as a gypsy prizefighter, and Jason Statham as, well... himself (has he ever played anyone else?). However, one issue is that the acting, which, while decent, isn't ever very convincing, but for a movie like this, it really doesn't need to be.

I liked this film. But, there one final catch before I can honestly recommend it. Crank. Both films star Jason Statham, both have a lightning fast tone, and both are quite funny. The films share so many elements that it feels like two video games running the same engine. They feel, look, and move the same way, even though they're from different genre's. Overall Snatch is a better, funnier film, in my humble opinion, but if you prefer abstract craziness and action, plus much more action, than go watch Crank instead. If you just want a brilliantly fun, frantic, and well shot and written comedy, or just want to hear people with funny accents talk for 90 minutes, watch Snatch. Hell, watch them both.

It's easy to see why Snatch has attained its cult status. At the time it was released there wasn't really anything in theaters that was similar to it, and it wasn't that successful, despite Brad Pitt's face sitting front and center on the poster. But it's impact was felt; in Crank, in the increasingly common use of British style humor (causality), and in the success of Jason Statham and Guy Ritchie. This film is worthwhile,  interesting, and hilarious. It's Snatch, go see it.

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