Directed by Guy Ritchie.
Starring Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, Benicio del Toro, Dennis Farina, Jason Flemyng, Vinnie Jones, and Rade Serbedzija.
Guy Ritchie’s second movie, Snatch, arrives in 4K with an accompanying Blu-ray that’s the same disc issued in 2009. If you’re looking for a visual upgrade to that old platter, though, you can’t go wrong here, although you should note that no new bonus features were created for this release.
Looking back on the 90s, it feels like a time when many filmmakers were trying to push the envelope, putting new visual and narrative styles in front of audiences and seeking to move film as a storytelling medium in new directions. That decade was also a pretty fallow period for superhero movies, so there was a bit of a vacuum in which directors like Guy Ritchie could get attention for making movies that were more character-driven than the many CGI-laden spectacles we have these days.
The director’s second film, Snatch, arrived in the UK during the summer of 2000 and hit the US in January 2001, providing, in a way, a bookend to the 90s. His first movie, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, was a low-budget indie effort, and its success enabled him to mix stars like Brad Pitt and Benicio del Toro in with a stable of regulars who included Jason Statham, Alan Ford, and Vinnie Jones. Long-time character actor Dennis Farina gave some oomph to the supporting cast.
Snatch features two storylines that start out in parallel and cross into each other as the story progresses. In one, Statham plays Turkish, an underground boxing promoter whose attempt to fix an upcoming boxing match is upended by Mickey (Pitt), an Irish Traveller (known as a “pikey” among those who want to denigrate that nomadic group) who puts Turkish’s preferred boxer, Brick Top (Ford), in the hospital. Turkish uses Mickey in an upcoming fight instead, but the headstrong boxer refuses to take a fall, which gets both Brick Top and Turkish in trouble with members of London’s criminal world and pulls Mickey into their tangled web.
Meanwhile, Benicio del Toro plays Frankie Four Fingers, who has swiped a huge 86-carat diamond and is en route to New York City to meet up with jeweler Cousin Avi (Farina) when he makes a stopover in London. Frankie and his accomplices aren’t the brightest, nor the most devoted, group, and a double-cross results in the snatched diamond going missing. Farina is no stranger to playing bosses exasperated with their inept underlings, and Avi follows the same formula here, traveling to London to deal with the problem and hiring Bullet Tooth Tony (Jones) to help him get the diamond back.
The story moves at a frantic pace as both groups intersect with each other in various ways, with the missing diamond becoming the movie’s MacGuffin, as Alfred Hitchcock would say. However, Snatch’s success has more to do with its colorful characters than anything else. The casting was pitch-perfect, and Pitt demonstrates an uncanny ability to completely lose himself in a character, something that he’s done in other movies and is easy to forget when considering his roles in big-budget films.
Snatch was remastered in 4K for this release. Unsurprisingly, it’s a noticeable improvement over the old Blu-ray, which is included here as a second disc, along with a code for a digital copy. There aren’t any bonus features on the 4K platter, and nothing new was created for this release.
The extras are all contained on the Blu-ray, which, unfortunately, doesn’t use the new 4K remaster; it was known for being a bit lackluster when it was issued in 2009. While a 4K remaster doesn’t allow a Blu-ray to become a 4K disc, of course, it has been shown to give the image quality a slight upgrade, as demonstrated in other 4K releases where the accompanying Blu-ray uses the remaster. It would have been nice if Sony had gone that route, but they’re not alone in presumably figuring they’ll save money by recycling the old Blu-ray disc.
The bonus features include:
- Audio commentary with Ritchie and producer Matthew Vaughn: This is a pretty basic track that’s actually a bit pedestrian, especially when contrasted with the high-energy action onscreen. However, there is an amusing moment partway through when the pair are given a list of approved discussion topics.
- Deleted scenes: Roughly nine minutes of excised footage is found here, with an optional commentary. None of the six scenes will likely make you wish they were still in the film.
- Making Snatch: This is a 24-minute featurette with plenty of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. As these kinds of abbreviated making-of pieces go, it’s a bit above par, and it’s a good complement to the commentary track.
- Storyboard comparisons: This piece compares the storyboards and the finished scenes for three parts of the film: Introduction of Characters, Avi Goes to London, and The Big Fight.
A photo gallery, trailers, and TV spots round out the Blu-ray disc, along with The Cutting Room, which lets you play amateur editor with the fight scene. It’s a BD Live feature that allowed you to upload the resulting video and share it back in 2009, but my 4K player isn’t connected to the Internet, so I don’t know if it still works. I’d imagine that in the year 2021, there isn’t much interest in that kind of functionality – in fact, I don’t recall BD Live in general being terribly interesting to most people 12 years ago either.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★