Sunday, June 26, 2016

Movie #367: Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is the debut film from Guy Ritchie and stars Nick Moran, Dexter Fletcher, Jason Flemyng, Jason Steakumms Statham, Vinne Jones, Lenny McLean, P. H. Moriarty, Frank Harper, and you know what, I'm just gonna stop there because this movie has a fucking huge cast of people you probably don't know.

So: Eddie (Moran) is a card sharp who's a bit of a fuckup in general. He collects 100,000 pounds, back when that was worth something (sorry, too soon?) from his friends Bacon (Statham), Soap (Fletcher) and Tom (Flemying) and enters into a card game with known criminal and murderer "Hatchet" Harry (Moriarty). He loses (because Harry cheats with the help of his monstrous enforcer, Barry "the Baptist" (McLean)), and finds himself with a week to pay back half a million pounds.

Meanwhile, Barry hires two bumblefuckers (Jake Abraham and Victor McGuire) to steal two antique shotguns from a stately home on behalf of Harry (who likes guns). Meanwhile, the four lads' next-door neighbors are a gang of vicious thugs run by Dog (Harper) who do home invasions and robberies of drug dealers. Meanwhile-meanwhile, a group of pot farmers led by Winston (Steven Mackintosh) and answering to Rory Breaker (Vas Blackwood), another crazy gangster, are...happily farming pot.

Add into this mix Harry's other leg-breaker, Big Chris (Jones), who acts as a kind of mediating influence. If Vinnie fucking Jones is your voice of reason, things have gone off the rails.

This movie is kind of a heist movie, kind of a farce, kind of a comedy of errors. It's a little Tarantino-esque as far as its violence and the scenes of dialog (and the music), but it doesn't get up its own ass with pop culture references, and it's thoroughly British, and male (only two female characters in the whole movie and they're both incidental), and white (there's exactly one black character of any notice and that's Rory).

I really enjoy this movie, though. The characters aren't exactly good or likable, but the only characters to really get off with no serious consequences are the pot dealers (there are some wounds, but Winston gets away with the drugs after both Rory and Dog's gangs die), and while the lads don't come out with any money (OR DO THEY) they at least have each other and have their lives. The movie is just too funny and light in tone to be noir, but it shares some DNA, and the color palette is washed out and bleak enough that I always forget it's shot in color at all.

All in all, it's pretty damn stylish. Ritchie has gone on to bigger and louder things, but I still think this is kinda his best work from a filmmaking standpoint (and I think Snatch, which is conceptually similar but has a much larger budget, isn't really that great).

My grade: A
Rewatch value: High

Next up: The Long Kiss Goodnight