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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 and producer calling card, and homage to a certain ‘lads mag’ sepia-tinted fantasy of East End gangster life, Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is 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 where the toff ganja dealer brings home some fertiliser and a stoned girlfriend is priceless – but there are far too many tokenistic soundtrack and cinematographic throws of the dice. Even the array of supposedly colourful characters is a 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 the prime exemplar of the 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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