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Today I went to a movie theater in New York City's Times Square and saw Snatch. 10 years ago that sentence would have had a totally different meaning.

Snatch is the second film from Guy Ritchie. It is a slick edgy funny film about jewel thieves, bare-knuckle boxers, mobsters, killers and dogs. You never know who to trust, who's going to rob who and who's gonna get the prize. The film starts out in Belgium as four men rip off an 81-carat diamond. One of the robbers Frankie Four Fingers takes it to England. Before he gets a chance to fence it there is a double cross and the diamond changes hands for the first of many times.

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The film features a great cast of tough guy and not so tough guy characters played by a wide array of actors. Alan Ford plays Brick Top. He is a bare-knuckle boxing promoter and is one of the toughest screen heavies that we have seen in a mob movie in a long time. He commands your attention when he is on screen and he turns in the films best performance. Benicio Del Toro is good although under used in the film as a four fingered jewel thief. Brad Pitt is good as a "pikey"(not exactly Irish not exactly English gypsy) boxer who never says anything clearly as an advantage in negotiations. Of course your crime movie wouldn't be complete without Dennis Farina. Also, while he is a great tough guy, Vinnie Jones is also on hand as an extremely similar character that he played in Lock Stock. This isn't such a good thing. While his performance is good it is a bit of an eyesore seeing the same actor play the same character in a different film by the same director. Remember Joe Pesci in Casino anyone?

The film is shot in a highly stylized, interesting way. The opening jewel thievery scene is cut with a rapid fire pace and the camera moves twists and turns on its head, which adds to the urgency and the intensity of the scene. The story also wastes no time getting you from Belgium to England to New York with a quick jab split screen editing style. There is also some great rapid-fire ultra hip dialogue laced through out the movie that is funny as hell. The plot is not exactly filled with compelling fleshed out three-dimensional characters and to be honest I thought the guys in Lock Stock were more sympathetic and easier to route for. The two boxing promoters who are supposed to be the "good guys" in this movie don't feel like they are main characters. It's not exactly all form no substance, It's more like good form some substance.

The good news is that Guy Ritchie has avoided the filmmakers sophomore jinx with his second major film, the bad news is that he did it with the same blueprint he used to make his first film. This isn't a necessarily bad thing. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is one of the funniest crime drama/comedies since Pulp Fiction. Snatch is also in the same league as its predecessor, but I would have liked to see him tackle a different type of film. If you are looking for a character driven story with a highly detailed film there are better choices out there. If you are looking for a fun night out at the movies watching a better then average crime film (especially if you haven't seen his first film) then Snatch is the movie to go see. On a scale of one to 10 it gets a 7.5.

Paul Ferris The Wheel Deal Review

Reprinted with permission.

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