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Theme is that of rivalry and revenge. Rivalry between perpetrators seeking the same goals/ motives. Revenge of evil against evil and good against evil.
Turkish - the most important character of all, he is the narrator of the story. He is essentially a boxing promoter but also owns a gaming parlour to keep him occupied when there’s no “action” in the ring. His absolute informal style of delivering the story helps the movie to connect to the audience to a great extent. One of the very few good characters in this movie whose personality has no crooked traits whatsoever, a good sense of humour coupled with a tendency to put up a straight face even in the tightest of situations makes Turkish an enjoyable character to watch.
Tommy � baby faced. Immature. Childish. The perfect adjectives to describe, Turkish’s partner. Short and round faced, he is looked down upon by quite a few of the movie’s characters and has earned the nick “Turkish’s female friend”. His injudicious actions get him into as much gravy as they do to his partner. As Turkish says, “ I try to keep him outta as much trouble as he gets me into.”
Cousin Avi � a New York based diamond crook would be the best way to describe Avi. Middle aged and Jewish, he borders on paranoid behavioral tendencies when faced with stressful situations. Avi seems like a nice guy who’s out to get his friend out of trouble, but don’t let that fool you. He has an equally cold side. One of the few characters in this movie who get things their way towards the end of the movie.
Mickey � as the Brits would say, ‘a gawd-damned pykie’ who spends his life in a caravan with his mom. A bare-knuckle boxing champion, he is discovered accidentally by Tommy. His heavily accented English is very difficult to comprehend especially for foreign audiences. He seems to get what ever he wants from Turkish. A character to be watched with extra care, he adds a whole new twist to the story in the end.
Sol and Vinny � Inseparable duo and hence, the reason behind clubbing both the characters together. Blacks with questionable IQ levels, Sol and Vinny own a pawn broker’s shop but also function as part time gangsters who never cease to come up with the dumbest of antics which lands them in soup. They provide the Black element which all gangster movies seem to require these days.
Brick Top � A big time bookie hitting his late 60s, here is a character who employs a wide range of techniques like strangling, skull smashing, attack dogs, and feeding humans to pigs, he is the epitome of cold bloodedness. Brick Top is never lacking in bitter sarcasm and his influence and power is felt largely.
Boris the Blade � An ex-KGB agent. Need any more be said? Sly and conniving, he is one character who refuses to die easy. A highly elusive character who can come up with the most unexpected.
Bullet Tooth Tony � a gangster-for-hire, his cool air of nonchalance is tight situations is commendable. He is known to track down the most elusive prey and ‘sort’ things out using the rough techniques that are common in this profession. Tony wears his confidence well and his feared by people who know him.
The movie begins with a diamond heist involving a group of Russians and a Jew, Franky. Franky decides to stop over in London before returning to New York. Meanwhile Turkish, a boxing promoter is busy coaching George for a boxing event and offers to put him in the ring for Brick Top, a big time bookie/ gangster. The movie changes when George is knocked down flat by a gypsy (Mickey) during a dispute over a caravan purchase by Tommy, Turkish’s partner.
Brick Top is furious but, on hearing about Mickey wants the match fixed with Mickey going down in the rd round. Meanwhile, Franky meets Boris to buy a gun and agrees to pay him in the form of a favor at the bookies which in reality is a trap to relieve him of the diamond. Boris hires black gangsters and they hold up Brick Top’s bookies and get the case containing the diamond from Franky. A dispute over the payment arise and Boris kills Franky and takes the diamond. Cousin Avi arrives from NY to track down the diamond. Meanwhile in the ring, Mickey triumphs and angers Brick Top. Brick tracks down Sol & Viny and threatens to kill them if they don’t pay him back thru the diamond. Thus ensues a wild chase for the diamond, in the process killing Boris and Tony. Parallely Mickey is forced to box once more, with Brick Top ordering him to go down in the rd round and warning him of serious repercussions in case of non-compliance of orders.
The chase for the diamond ends with Sol’s dog swallowing it. The boxing match ends with Mickey whacking the hell out of his opponent, all the while taking a beating himself. The tables are turned on Brick Top, when he tries to take on Mickey and the gypsies and Brick Top’s gang is wiped out which comes as a complete surprise. Sol & Viny get busted by the police. The dog is foundby Turkish and Tommy at the gypsy camp site while searching for Mickey. They later on find a 84 karat diamond in its stomach and meet Doug who promises to find “someone” to buy it.
What makes Snatch a very good movie to watch is the absolute non-linear narrative structure. The whole movie is an extreme visual mosaic. The script element of cause and effect has been used to highlight a decision and then later what becomes of it. The movie has a lot of intricacies and sub-plots that seem to cris-cross and muddle into each other which is probably due to so much action taking place simultaneously. The narrative techniques used are
Point of attack � In this movie the point of attack happens to be a scene from the end of the story. But this has not been shown in the lengthy manner that usually precedes any flashback but instead has the background narrator with him introducing himself and his partners.
Back story - the back story here is the flashback which is virtually the whole movie. The entire cocktail of multiple storylines bouncing off each other forms the back story for the point of attack.
Twists and Turning Point � As many a critic put it, this story has more twists ans turns than a perm screw. There are unexpected new dimensions from the beginning of the movie itself. Mickey’s very rise as a key character is a totally unexpected dimension and in a manner which changes the course of action for of the key characters. Another instance is the dog swallowing the diamond. The ultimate turning point is when the tables are turned on Brick Top and the manner in which it is presented to the audience heightens the impact.
Point of view � the narrative is initially from the main character Turkish’s point of view. Once the flash back begins the point shifts to that of the director and keeps wavering between that and Turkish’s point of view till the end where it again shifts to Turkish’s point of view.
Tension release � Due to the extensive use of twists and turns in the story, the audience is always on tenterhooks as to what will happen next. The tension release is done parallely by means of humorous goof-ups which form part of the story. As a result, the element of laughter helps dissipate the tension.
Tone the overall tone of the movie is that of comedy because even though there are a lot of twists and turns and some serious moments, the laughter element dominates.
Pace the movie has multiple conflicts and many twists and turns. The conflicts are again dispersed through the movie and hence the movie has a reasonably fast pace.
Technical aspects that heighten the impact of the narrative
The director Guy Ritchie has always been known for his exceptionally innovative use of camera angles and sound to heighten his narrative. One unforgettable scene is that of Avi traveling to London from New York. The entire sequence of his slamming the phone down, getting into a taxi, getting into a plane, downing stress pills, landing in London, traveling in a taxi and arriving at Doug’s place has been shown in 6 extremely shots brief shots running at a fast pace.
The use of sound is specially to be noted in situation where fast movements are involved. The sounds of bullet rushes or air rushing have been used to indicate fast motion. Good, appropriate and fast back ground music adds to the narrative and cuts out the seriousness where ever used. Also sub-titles rush onto the bottom of the screen and grab attention immediately.
The over all lighting is low key and rather dark shade as this is a story involving gangsters. Excessive foul language again fits in with the gangster image.
Assessing the characters
Performances are all top notch. Bricktop is very especially convincing as a dryly threatening gangster king and his bitter style of speech is striking. Mickey puts in a excellent turn as a enigmatic gypsy who gobbles up the pictures visual composition by providing a consistently exciting presence. Sol and Vinny manage to provide the comic element all through the story. Boris lives up to the crooked ex-KGB agent image rather well. Franky though a rather short lived character has a curiously funny style of dialogue delivery. Tonys confidence is rather contrasting from that of the rest of the characters.Turkish and Tommy manage to retain their goody-goody image all through the movie. A lot of masculine energy with no key female characters.
Relevance and impact of the narrative on the audience
Snatch is a film with a skillfully tweaked narrative that provides several convenient outlets for humour, hence in such a dark and moody gangster environment, the audience is forced into bouts of laughter at the perpetrators antics.
This mood of the film � funny bad guys- makes the story thoroughly enjoyable fare. Music is inspiring and greatly accentuates portions of the story. All in one, the film going people will be entertained throughout the length of the film, with good comedy, action, music and interesting character. And unlike normal comedies too. This film is all but normal, standard fare. The combination is rare, especially regarding the cinematography. Everything is enjoyable even the title sequence. A skillfully crafted narrative that is sure to leave the audience truly spell bound.
Suggestions to rework/ improve the narrative
As mentioned earlier, this narrative reeks of creativity at every level and the manner in which it has been delivered, though unconventional in it’s style, is unquestionably effective in it’s ability to entertain the audience and cater to their senses in a rare manner that will leave them truly gasping for more. Hence I personally feel that the narrative structure does not need any reworking.
However, the depiction of explicit violence in a very casual manner may be questioned especially in a world where teenagers are increasingly influenced by the media and it’s products. Also is the use of “4-letter words” in literally every sentence. True, this is a movie with gangsters. But, the extent of usage could be limited to only those scenes that are truly trying for the characters involved and not in a way that would place “4-letter word” on par with normal vocabulary and not in mode encouraging the younger audiences to follow suit.
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