Reviews: Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels
This is what happens when the Brits make a grindhouse film.
I liked Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. The movie was paced well, was shot beautifully, and was well-written. The characters are entertaining and vivid. The plot is somewhat loose, but it works. The movie was very reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's work, particularly Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. From what I hear, it also takes cues from The Italian Job, though I haven't seen it so I can't really say. (As a side note, I've put it in my Netflix queue.) Another thing I noticed was the lack of color. There is blue and green, but used very sparsely. Most everything in the film has an orange coloration to it. This gives the film a very gritty, grindhouse feel to it. (That reminds me- I still need to see Grindhouse.) The film is unquestionably British. From the setting to the language, everything is endemic to England, specifically London. If the movie had been set anywhere else, it would have been completely different. Cockney is used to amplify this effect, and it works beautifully. It's also used for comic effect when the slang becomes so impenetrable that we're given subtitles. The plot isn't told in an entirely linear way- it's told the way that best fits the film. The focus skips from one group to the next, to give us an understanding of the plot that none of the characters have. However, we are still left in the dark about a few things. Twists are completely unexpected, but not in such a way that it seems stupid. Ritchie knows what the audience will know, what they will assume, and what they can figure out for themselves. The one thing I didn't find excellent was the characters. They weren't too well-developed, as the movie paid more attention to the plot. They have personality, but it's never given much chance to shine through. Overall, the film is well-made, with much attention to detail. However, don't go into the film expecting strong characters who learn a moral and leave the movie changed for the better. On the surface, it's somewhat better than average. If you take the time to analyze it though, you will most likely consider it a masterpiece. If you don't have the patience for that, it's still enjoyable. Don't take my opinion for granted, though. See it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Farce, violence and dark hilarious humour
People are always going on about how the Coen brothers and Tarintino have the edge when it comes to mixing violence and snappy black comedy together. It's alright if you are one of these people. However if I were to place my hard earned money on a gritty modern farce I would go for Lock Stock and Two Smokin' Barrels anyday of the week. This is Guy Riche's first film and many people would probably say his best (could it be because it was before he meet Madonna?) Riche knows how to pace this film, introducing a whole bunch of characters who seem to have absolutely nothing to do with each other apart from the fact they are members of London's seedy underground. The as the tension rises so does the hilarity as it swings from caper, to suspence to comedy without a hint of mood whiplash. The end is gut wrentchingly aweful and hilarious at the same time and you can't help but feel that Karma has a sense of irony. This film is the oringinal Italian Job meets Pulp Fiction.