I hate to be the barer of bad news, but people need to stop trying to copy Quentin Tarantino. Ever since Pulp Fiction came out in 1994, impressionable directors have tried, and most have failed, to capture the violence and dialogue of QT. Guy Ritchie, the director of Snatch, has certainly failed. Snatch is an interesting film to look at, but as soon as you try to use your brain it falls apart faster than Brad Pitt’s character talks.
The story revolves around numerous characters who are all somehow involved with a diamond that has been stolen. Some know they are involved, some have no idea. There are also side plots about underground boxing organizations and man-eating pigs. Does the plot make any sense? Absolutely not, but I’m guessing Ritchie doesn’t care to make sense. All he is trying to do is overpower us with visual style, and with that, he almost succeeds.
So why doesn’t the film work? It’s not because the plot is ludicrous, because good movies have been made with crazy plots. The main reason is because the characters are too one-dimensional. Each of them has a nickname that explains his entire being. Franky Four Fingers, Bullet Tooth Tony, Boris the Blade, and Jack the All-Seeing Eye just to name a few. Every character is given a little introduction with their name across the bottom of the screen and voice over narration telling us their one dimension. The problem with this is that we have to stay with these characters for over two hours and none of them has any sort of depth. That is why the film doesn’t work.
It’s hard to watch films when you are indifferent to every person on screen. Either make us love or hate a character. Indifference kills movies. That does not mean that this film is boring. The camera and the action doesn’t allow the viewer to fall asleep, but, similar to films like Armageddon, the action only takes us so far. Audiences have to be taken for a ride or else they feel like they have wasted their money, and more importantly, their time.
When trying to be like Tarantino, the important thing to steal is his ability to make three-dimensional characters, not his camera style or excessive violence.