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SNATCH

Convoluted is a good word to describe the plot of writer/director Guy Ritchieís sophomore feature film SNATCH ($29). This isnít to say that the plot is overly difficult to follow, more so that it is difficult to describe in a review without giving too much away. Of course, it doesnít help that a number of the characters speak with incomprehensible English accents; heck, some of these accents are so bad that even some of other characters canít understand them. Perhaps some will require a roadmap to follow SNATCH, but I found the film to be a thoroughly entertaining hoot. With SNATCH Ritchie displays his usual flair creating quirky and clever character-driven comic crime capers that bring together a group of individuals that probably donít belong together in the same film. Of course, this is probably the reason that SNATCH is able to created unexpectedly amusing situations, as well as some cinematic fireworks.

Basically, SNATCH tells two stories, with the two stories on a runaway train collision course for one another. Story one: Turkish (Jason Statham) is a small-time boxing promoter in the realm of underground fighting, who has to contend a psychotic gangster named Brick Top (Alan Ford) that controls the action. Turkish and his associate Tommy (Stephen Graham) lose their fighter in a bare-knuckle brawl with Irish Gypsy Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt), which leaves them in need of a new fighter for a scheduled bout. Story two: Franky "Four-Fingers" (Benicio del Toro) is jewel thief with a gambling problem, who just happens to have a stolen eighty-six carat diamond in his possession. Boris "The Blade" Yurinov (Rade Serbedzija) is made aware of the diamond by an inside man, and sets up a pair of pawn shop owners, Sol (Lennie James) and Vinnie (Robbie Gee), to rob a bookie joint when Franky "Four-Fingers" shows up to place a bet on an illegal boxing match. From here, it all just gets more and more complicatedÖ especially after 'Cousin' Avi Denovitz (Dennis Farina) and Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) show up. Eventually, the colliding stories blow up in everyoneís face- leaving a number of bodies strewn along the way.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made SNATCH available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Of the 1080p presentation I will say thisÖ itís like putting expensive lipstick on a pig- the expensive lipstick is still fantastic, but itís on a pig. SNATCH has been given an impressive transfer, but even in high definition, the movie looks fairly ugly. Of course, this is the way itís supposed to look. Taking place amongst Londonís criminal underbelly, SNATCH looks dingy and sordid, with much of the film coming across as though it were shot under harsh, unflattering fluorescent lighting. Image sharpness and detail can be very good, but there are some technical issues that this modestly budgeted film never overcame. Fine detail and texturing are fairly respectable, as is the dimensionality of sequences with better lighting. Colors favor a subdued gray green pallet, which can be associated with shooting under fluorescent lighting, which somehow manages to carry over into outdoor shots. Blacks are quite deep, while the whites appear accurate. Contrast sometimes has a manipulated look, which adds to add to the gritty quality. Shadow detail is adequate, but never exemplary. The elements from which SNATCH has been transferred are in good physical shape. Grain is present in the image, which keeps it all very film-like.

SNATCH is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. There isnít much room for subtlety in the film, nor in the soundtrack. This is a well-constructed soundtrack that hits you like a ton of bricks when it needs to. Sounds are precisely placed throughout the soundstage and the sound design is effective in every thing that it needs to convey. The lossless encode certainly adds to the overall impact of the music and sound effects, with the bottom end of the track being rather weighty, without seeming boomy. Dialogue reproduction is as good as it is going to get. Please let me remind you, that some of the actors are with incomprehensible English accents that the vast majority of Americans are never going to understand without subtitles. French and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks are also encoded onto the disc, as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with writer/director Guy Ritchie and producer Matthew Vaughn. Next is Making Snatch, a twenty-five minute Featurette. Deleted Scenes, Storyboard Comparisons, a Video Photo Gallery and Trailers & TV Spots close out the extras.

SNATCH is thoroughly entertaining comic crime caper. The Blu-ray is great, even if the movie is very unattractive. Recommended.

 

SNATCH 


Snatch [Blu-ray] (2000)

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DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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