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Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

September 27, 2013

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Actors: Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Vinnie Jones

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Synopsis: Young card shark Eddie (Nick Moran) and his three friends front a large sum of money so Eddie can play in (and in theory, win) an illicit card game with Harry ‘the Hatchet’. Eddie loses and has a week to find the £500k owed to Harry, so when he overhears plans from the gang next door to rob the takings from a nearby bunch of hash dealers, he feels he might have a solution to his problem….

Review: Feeling more like a directorial/producer ‘calling card’ and homage to a certain ‘lads mag’ sepia-tinted fantasy of East-End ganster life, Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is in essence, one big, indigestible rich pudding of a movie. Sure, there are many moments of laugh-out loud comedy (Lenny McLean’s ‘Barry the Baptist’ is a genius piece of casting, and the scene with the toff ganja dealer bringing home some fertiliser and a stoned girlfriend is priceless), but there are far too many tokenistic soundtrack and cinematographic ‘throws of the dice’, and the pot pourri of supposed colourful characters is a little bit ‘hit and miss’.

I may be in a minority here, but I actually think Ritchie worked out a lot of his teething problems in the far more interesting and better rounded piece of work, Snatch (although most critics and commentators denounced Snatch as simply a case of “more of the same”). Lock, Stock was certainly exemplar of a hackneyed British attempt to tap into the pulp fad brought about by Quentin Tarantino’s cinematic ascent in the early/mid 90s. Tarantino had a controlled, masterly command of his medium that the Guy Ritchie of Lock, Stock evidence could only dream of. (September 2013)

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