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Directed by Guy Ritchie.
Written by Guy Ritchie. 
Starring Jason Statham, Brad Pitt, Vinnie Jones and Benicio Del Toro.
Release Year:  2000 
Review Date:  1/20/01 


It's been a great week.  I had Monday off for MLK Day, I had multiple free meals on Tuesday, I turned 26 on Wednesday, had more freebies all day Thursday for my meals and Friday...I went to see my birthday flick.  Now, normally, I go see a flick on my birthday itself, but since I had seen everything I had wanted to see up to that point, I decided to wait until Friday.  Most years, the movie I see on my birthday blows...the worst of these movies has got to be "Freejack", the shitty Emilio Estevez/Mick Jagger action film that has to rank amongst the bottom of the films I have seen.  I must say, though, that my fortunes have changed with the release of "Snatch."

Wow.  What a great movie!  Guy Ritchie (Madonna's husband, director of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels") has written and directed a film that actually has it all:  a diverse, talented cast; a globetrotting plot with multiple interesting stories; a great soundtrack; the perfect pace (getting loads into its 100 minutes; you WILL think it is longer); lively cinematography that does a great job of mixing up its styles to keep the audience interested; and, finally, a movie that has a great ending!  Movies seem to never get the ending right anymore; even a great film like "Traffic" didn't handle its ending well, in my opinion.

The *start* of the plot is simple:  Frankie Four-Fingers (Benicio Del Toro, "The Usual Suspects") completes a heist to steal an 84-carat diamond and attempts to get the diamond to a friend in New York (Dennis Farina, more movies than I can mention here).  Of course, that plan goes awry, and everyone from the local mob boss to a bumbling set of diamond experts to boxing promoters to a crazy Russian have a hand in the movie's outcome.

But, it is the *ride* in "Snatch" that makes the whole thing worthwhile.  Just its opening character introduction sequence is wild, as Ritchie shows the audience all of the characters in the movie in one energized loop.  Wisely, though, Ritchie does not overemploy MTV-style hypercutting throughout the film, just on occasion.  He also uses some discretion in showing us only enough violence to give us the idea of what is taking place; rather than showing us lots of bloodied bodies, he usually just shows one character shooting another and leaving it at that.  (In case you were wondering, some of its ideas are pretty violent but you aren't getting, say, a guy's ear cut off like in "Reservoir Dogs."  Just watch out for the pigs.)  And, the acting turns are often just hilarious, including Brad Pitt's bare-knuckle fighter and Vinnie Jones' tough-guy routine, played in a similar fashion as his role in "Lock, Stock..."  Even the dog that is shown in the preview has lots to do over the course of the film.

Highly recommended and, if you haven't already, rent "Lock, Stock..." because there are a few in-jokes that you will pick up on if  you have already seen that film.

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09