Guy Ritchie's "Snatch" is an enjoyably unhinged crime caper that still stands as the director's best work, in my opinion. From the opening credits, Ritchie grabs the film and spins it like a roulette wheel - the director bounces between about a dozen characters and throws out one visual trick after another. It's all a little dizzying at times, but the movie's energy never stalls.
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 (Rade Sherbedgia, fantastic) makes one attempt after another to 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 (Vinnie Jones) to find him. There's also another gang who finds themselves in trouble when they become involved with the entire operation.
Elsewhere, a couple of boxing promoters named Turkish (Jason Statham) and Tony (Stephen Graham) 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 (Alan Ford, terrific.) 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, with Del Toro, Statham, Ford and Pitt as the highlights of an all-around stellar ensemble cast.
One of the things that still remains remarkable about "Snatch" - beyond the superb performances and high energy - is the film's ability to be very (darkly) funny and yet maintain some weight. While it creates some absurdly funny situations and some marvelous one-liners, "Snatch" surprises in its ability to weave between laughs and tension as, for example, Ford gives a performance that's remarkably intimidating as the promoter Turkish and Tony have to face off against.
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. The film's wildly twisty story is also held together quite well and Ritchie keeps the pacing tight and swift, as well. This is a terrific, terrific film that still stands up quite well nearly a decade later.
VIDEO: "Snatch" is presented in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. While not without a few minor concerns, this is easily the best the film has looked on home video. Sharpness and detail are impressive, as the picture is considerably crisper and more detailed than the prior DVD edition.
Although a few minor instances of specks on the print are seen (as well as some intentional grain), the picture otherwise looked clean and smooth. No edge enhancement was seen during the presentation, nor were any instances of pixelation. The film's color palette is pretty subdued throughout the movie, but there are spots of brighter colors. Either way, colors look accurate and well-saturated, with no problems. Black level is strong and flesh tones are accurate, as well. This is a top-notch presentation of the film that should please fans.
SOUND: "Snatch" offers up a wonderful DTS-HD 5.1 presentation. Although it's not highly or consistently agressive, during the film's most intense sequences, surround effects fly about in exciting fashion. Surrounds are also nicely used for some occasional ambient sounds. The score (including such tracks as the Specials' terrific "Ghost Town" to some techno tunes to even Madonna's early "Lucky Star") is also perfectly paired with the scenes in the movie. Although some of the music comes from the front, the music also reinforced on occasion by the surrounds.
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.
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.
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) are also offered.
New "Snatch" Cutting Room (edit together clips from the movie and create your own video) and MovieIQ (trivia.) Both are for BD-Live capable players.
Final Thoughts: "Snatch" still remains highly entertaining nearly a decade later, with stellar performances and an energetic visual style. The Blu-Ray offers improved audio/video quality, as well as quite a few extras. Recommended.
The Film A