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When a dizzying robbery takes place in the Orthodox Jewish diamond district, a flawless 86- carat gem, the size of an infant's fist, is lifted in the snatch. Taking it to London, the diamond's thief and courier, Franky Four Fingers arrives in the city as a stopover en route to New York to deliver the huge diamond to his bigwig crime boss, Avi. But because Franky can't resist temptation and London is a town with its share of illegal trade, a small crowd of miscreants and malefactors eventually ends up chasing each other and the whereabouts of the diamond. These include: Doug the Head, a jeweler who pretends he's Jewish because it's good for business; Boris the Blade, a Russian gangster with a deserved reputation for being impossible to kill; Bullet Tooth Tony, a legendary hard guy and Brick Top, perhaps the scariest of the lot.
For more about Snatch and the Snatch Blu-ray release, see Snatch Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 1, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Benicio del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Mike Reid, Jason Flemyng
Director: Guy Ritchie
» See full cast & crew
Snatch Blu-ray Review
Snatch up a copy of this latest release from Sony.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 1, 2009
It's just that. Just a story.
Snatch is shorthand for "convoluted plot, unintelligible dialects, quirky styling, superficially gratifying, and wildly entertaining filmmaking." Indeed, Guy Ritchie's 2000 follow-up to the fan-favorite Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels follows a familiar formula, delivering a picture that's not exactly coherent but not particularly difficult to follow on a base level. Fortunately, there's little to Snatch beyond the surface, making it easy to digest despite the many obstacles that keep it from being more readily accessible in a traditional narrative style. Snatch interconnects two major plot lines, neither of which are of any moral, spiritual, emotional, or otherwise philosophically important structure or value; instead, the film cares only about the visceral aspects of the violent, corrupt, and complex world it weaves, a world where anything goes, a tone that's reflected in Ritchie's haphazard and highly kinetic but wonderfully effective visual approach to the material.
Snatch follows two stories that interconnect by film's end: that of a stolen diamond and a series of fixed boxing matches gone awry. The former begins with the theft of a flawless and particularly large 86-carat gem by the skilled Frankie "Four Fingers" (Benicio del Toro, The Way of the Gun), and he and the diamond become the object of desire by a broad spectrum of sleazy and unscrupulous individuals: American Avi Denovitz (Dennis Farina), hit man Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinne Jones), Doug the Head (Mike Reid), Boris the Blade (Rade Őerbed×ija), and assorted low-level goons. Meanwhile, illegal boxing promoter Brick Top (Alan Ford) has a rigged fight lined up, but when his underling Turkish (Jason Statham, Crank) sends Tommy (Stephen Graham) and boxer Gorgeous George (Adam Fogerty) to secure him a new camper from a group of "pikeys," George is severely injured in a fight with Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), leaving Turkish and Tommy with no choice but to ask Mickey to enter the ring as George's replacement.
No matter the ins-and-puts of the plot; Snatch is more about the experience than the story, more about understanding the hows rather than the whys. Few films can succeed on style alone, and Snatch seems to go out of its way to prove itself the exception to that rule. Though its narrative isn't impossible to follow, it's moderately difficult for a myriad of reasons: borderline unintelligible accents, a plethora of main characters, varied motivations, interconnecting stories and fates, and a highly-charged and unorthodox visual style. All told, Snatch seems the epitome of a film destined to collapse under its own weight and convoluted collection of elements, but Director Guy Ritchie handles the entire spectrum of cinematic no-nos with tongue seemingly planted in-cheek, lending to the film a none-too-serious tone despite its dark and violent elements surrounding England's seediest Criminal underbellies and enterprises. Indeed, Snatch -- and Ritchie's other films -- is of its own personal style, a genre of its own, a film that can only be imitated but not duplicated, for few films enjoy such a mind-bendingly unique approach as this.
Snatch is a product of style, and as such, elements other than story prove more valuable to the experience, and the movie benefits greatly from its collection of talent found on either side of the camera. Guy Ritchie's direction is fluid, an organic ensemble of elements that give the film a life of its own, and it's complimented by a frenetic and terribly loud soundtrack that jumps into the mix and injects an additional jolt of energy into the experience. Together, the film's look and sound define the high energy concept, and both help in equal parts to energize a picture that otherwise suffers from the aforementioned issues that would seem to spell certain doom for a picture that dared take itself even the least bit more serious than Snatch. On the other side of the lens, Snatch's entire cast turn in memorable performances within the context of the film. The accents are thick but the dialogue is witty, and each character seems fully immersed in the film's helter-skelter style. Brad Pitt is particularly engaging as the "pikey" fighter Mickey O'Neil who encapsulates the entire experience, speaking with a particularly thick accent that even the other characters in the film have a hard time discerning, but he also makes for the most complex character that suffers greatly but also reaps a particularly handsome reward. Snatch also enjoys wonderful performances from a combination of name stars (Jason Statham, Benicio del Toro) and plenty of character actors at the top of their craft (Dennis Farina, Alan Ford).
Snatch Blu-ray, Video Quality
This Blu-ray release of Snatch delivers a technically proficient 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer that's not particularly appealing from a visual perspective but does seem to remain true to the film's intended appearance. The most prevailing aspect of the image is the muted color palette, the film seemingly taking on strong hints of greens, grays, and browns with brighter hues somewhat diminished in presence. As a result, Snatch is a particularly bland, dim, dreary picture that won't become the latest showroom floor demonstration disc, but it does seem to retain the filmmakers' original intent, which proves vastly more important than pure visual eye candy. As a result of the dulled color palette and generally overcast, gloomy tone, fine detail never immediately comes to the forefront, but the transfer reveals a good deal of visual niceties in context. Wrinkles and seams in clothing; facial characteristics; textures as seen on exterior building fašades and streets; and general grime, wear, and tear on some of the more run-down objects and locales scattered about the movie are nicely presented and fit in well with the film's overreaching visual tone. Black levels are sufficiently reproduced and flesh tones are reflective of the picture's naturally dour appearance. Rounded out by a pleasantly subtle layer of film grain, Sony's Blu-ray transfer of Snatch leaves little to be desired within the confines of Guy Ritchie's intended look for the film.
Snatch Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Snatch arrives on Blu-ray with a sound DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This presentation is highlighted by a loud yet concise and enthralling musical presentation; clear and precise throughout the entire range, the film's soundtrack blares from the speakers during many high-energy scenes but does so with strong precision that accentuates the film and excites the aural senses. In addition, the track delivers a rather hefty low-end extension as part of the musical accompaniment, and several sound effects -- booming shots from Bullet Tooth Tony's .50-caliber Desert Eagle handgun for example -- enjoy a good supportive rumble. The track also features solid ambience and a few decent directional effects; the interior of a getaway van after the opening diamond heist is accompanied by various sounds of rattling and rolling as the vehicle lumbers down the road, and the climactic boxing sequence delivers something of a surreal experience as the fight -- and accompanying sound effects -- moves about the listening area in seamless conjunction with the on-screen imagery. Snatch isn't a particularly booming or full-on sonic assault picture, but the track helps energize the movie and this DTS offering does all that's asked of it. Rounded out by strong dialogue reproduction that captures every deliberately hard-to-decipher syllable with ease, Snatch makes for another solid soundtrack effort from Sony.
Snatch Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Snatch debuts on Blu-ray with several bonus features. First up is a commentary track with Writer/Director Guy Ritchie and Producer Matthew Vaughn. A surprisingly dry affair, the track plays out in stark contrast to the high energy of Snatch. It's a procedural track that covers a spectrum of technical aspects with some good insights into the acting, story, editing, and other surrounding pieces of the Snatch experience. The 'Snatch' Cutting Room is an interactive feature that allows users to cobble together their own series of scenes from the film; users can edit scenes, add music, title their creation, and share it with the world via the disc's BD-Live page. Revolving around a game of chess between Jason Statham and Guy Ritchie, Making 'Snatch' (480p, 24:42) is a decent piece that features plenty of behind-the-scenes snippets and interview clips with the cast as they discuss numerous aspects of the film. The set also features six deleted scenes (480p) with optional Ritchie/Vaughn commentary; storyboard comparisons (480p) for three scenes: Introduction of Characters, Avi Goes to London, and The Big Fight; a Video Photo Gallery (480p, 5:16); three TV spots (480p, 0:32 each); and the film's teaser (480p, 0:53) and theatrical (1080p, 2:02) trailers. Also included is BD-Live and MovieIQ functionality.
Snatch Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
With every cockeyed element coming together for a somewhat indecipherable but altogether entertaining film with plenty of replay value, Snatch is not only a creature of its own definition but a film unique in most every regard, a wonderful change of pace in a sea of mediocrity and copycat pictures. Director Guy Ritchie lends to the film just the right pace and tone to allow it to overcome a plethora of otherwise damaging elements, and the ensemble cast to a man delivers a collection of extraordinary performances. Sony's Blu-ray release of this modern classic does the film justice. Boasting a strong video transfer within the confines of the film's intentionally muted tone, a solid lossless soundtrack, and a few good extras, Snatch comes strongly recommended.
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