I’ve previously seen Snatch, and liked it quite a bit, thanks to its eclectic cast of characters and smartly written plotline, but I hadn’t seen director Guy Ritchie’s debut feature film, until now. The film that put Ritchie on the map, as well as actors Jason Statham and former footballer (soccer) Vinnie Jones, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels may have a hell of a title, and a hell of a time living up to it, but it proves itself more than capable, especially of living up to expectations. There’s a lot that happens in this film, both in how the film is made and the storyline itself, and it’s a damn wonder that our brains are able to register everything rather easily (except the cast, which I’ll get to), but that just speaks more for Ritchie’s end product than anything.
The seedy London underground scene the film takes place in is a character all its own, where everyone’s got a nickname and no one’s got any decent morals, aside from the ones that serve themselves, of course. The look is kind of hands-up for me; the whole film is tinged brown, almost like the film stock itself was stained in coffee. Now, if you’ve carried on with this site at all, you know how much I don’t care for overly done color-correction, but like everything in films I don’t care for, I’m willing to overlook it if it serves a distinct purpose to the plot and the story. In terms of Lock Stock, however, I wasn’t too sure it did, but at the same time, it did sink me into the muddy world a little bit better than it would have, so to that end it did serve a purpose, albeit a very thin one. The film’s sense of pacing and style is whip-smart and crackling; Ritchie really knew what he was doing when he shot the film and put it together in editing. It’s got a flair for storytelling that too few movies of today’s day and age have got, and of course, that means big time entertainment for us the viewers. One problem that might rear its head should you give this a shot is the cast of characters; they are pretty much all introduced at once, and there’s very little headway toward keeping them all straight in your mind as the film goes on, but the plus side is, they are grouped up into separate groups, and as long as you keep the groups and their relationships with each other straight, this problem isn’t as large as it otherwise would be.
I expected going into this one to like it quite a bit, and my expectations were met. This is a crime caper film with eccentrically British sensibilities, and I had a hard time coming up with a reason or two to not like this one. The confusing bunch of characters and the muddy-water veneer of the film were two examples I could come up with, but you might have your own, depending on what kind of films you like. If this sounds like your cup of tea, by all means, see this one; as long as you can keep everything together, you’ll have a heck of a time. If it’s not, you may find yourself baffled and frustrated, but that’s the chance you take. In terms of how much I liked this one, I’d say it’s a chance worth taking.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10