Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Movie (1998)

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Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) with a somewhat average visual style and a large cast that needs you noted down names to keep track of who is in the cast – it is large and confusing. However, the film has a lot of energy.

The film is a London crime caper styled drama and comedy that brings to mind the likes of Shallow Grave, only that this one features a cast full of halfwits and brutes speaking pure Cockney. A keen eye would notices that the film falls short of the director’s goal and instead relies on excessive violence and plot twist to encourage interest. Plus, the film is male-dominated, leaving nothing for the female audience to be excited about.

The cast includes Soap (Fletcher), Eddy (Moran), Bacon (Statham), and Tom (Flemyng). In the film, Eddy is a skilled card counter right from childhood. The rest raise about £25,000 to sign him up to play an illegal game whose host is the renowned king of porn Harry played by Moriarty. Things go south, and the £25,000 goes down the drain resulting in the group owning more than half a million pounds.

In the meantime, Harry has a lot of interest in a pair of antique guns that will be put on sale for a great price, so he and his followers contract a duo of losers to Liverpool snatch them before they are put to auction. Not knowing their worth, the two idiots sell them off, which, as you might guess, sets them on a while goose chase. With that, chaos erupt, which is essentially the rest of the film.
This film and Snatch share a lot, with the only difference being that Guy Ritchie did not do his camera angles any justice- they are not as daring as they are in Snatch. It might be that the director grew some confidence and decide to be a little more creative.

The film scores very well with regards to and sophistication. However, it does not do that well when it comes to audience engagement and comprehensibility. The introduction is a mess; the accent, which isn’t a problem for North Americans, requires you to listen.
The director’s snazzy approach and a busy list of background music weigh over the film’s shortcomings until things slow down and dialogue kicks in. The movie becomes a cold screenplay. The director’s attempt at Runyonesque wit and irony occasionally hits the mark. Still, it does not go as far as to permeate his script.

Then there are character dynamics. Of the eight most prominent characters, Flemyng is the most noticeable, thanks to mostly Tom’s red hair and balding scalp. However, he is overshadowed by the likes of Harry, his muscle man, as well as Big Chris, who comes into play later on in the film.

Overall, it’s obvious why one would favor Snatch over this film. It was a difficult start for Guy Ritchie, but it’s the get your foot in the door kind of movie that offered a chance for him to make his mark with Snatch.

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