Killer cast – Statham, Pitt, Del Toro & more – ride Ritchie’s “Snatch” to 4K UHD
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
(1&2) (Bottom left) London boxing promoter Turkish (Jason Statham) and his longtime partner Tommy (Stephen Graham) try to convince bare-knuckle Irish boxer Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt), to replace their boxer ‘Gorgeous’ George who O'Neil injured. He would need to take a dive during the fourth round.
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4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2000; R for strong violence, profanity, and some nudity; streaming via Amazon Prime Video (4K), Apple TV (4K), Movies Anywhere (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)
Best extra: “Making Snatch” featurette
“My name is ‘Turkish.’ Funny name for an Englishman, I know. My parents were on the same plane when it crashed. That’s how they met. They named me after the plane. Not many people are named after a plane crash.
That’s Tommy. He tells people he was named after a gun. But I know he was really named after a famous 19th-century ballet dancer. Known him for as long as I can remember. He’s my partner.
Doesn’t mean we hold hands or take walks. It means I try to keep him out of as much trouble as he inflicts on me. I give him a hard time. Keeps him in check. But really, he’s like a brother.
What do I know about diamonds? I’m a boxing promoter. I was a happy boxing promoter until a week ago, and then: What do I know about diamonds? Don’t they come from Antwerp?” — Turkish (Jason Statham)
(1) Franky ‘Four Fingers’ (Benicio Del Toro) and three others steal an 84-karat diamond from a jeweler in Antwerp, Belgium. (2) The huge diamond was the backdrop for the title card of “Snatch,” a Screen Gem release, and opened in Australia on November 9, 2020. The opening sequence is all-composite shots, which have a softer image since it involves two pieces of film to make a new master shot.
NEARLY a quarter-century ago, rookie writer/director Guy Ritchie hired newcomer Jason Statham, a former British national diver and fashion model, for the role of Bacon in his low-budget crime comedy “Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” During production, the two become fierce chess rivals. Statham told Cinema.com, “The toughest moments is getting Ritchie to pay his debt when he loses.” The director is just as playful, implying he has “no respect” for Statham as a chess player during an interview with the British Chronicle Live.
In the opening moments of the making-of featurette, Ritchie pitches his second film during a chess match with Statham. Set in London’s criminal underworld, “It’s loaded with big, large characters, ‘cartoon-like,’" he says. “Really it’s just about having a romp with a lot of fellows.” As the match continues, Statham stares at the board and asks Ritchie what he wants to achieve in his next movie – while he moves his knight into position proclaiming “Checkmate”! “You can’t do that,” Ritchie says. “I just did it,” says Statham. No time wasted, he also snatches up the lead role of Turkish.
Ritchie’s criminal characters all have dicey backgrounds including Mickey O’Neil, a bare-knuckle Irish boxer in an outrageous performance by Brad Pitt. His thick gypsy dialect is nearly unintelligible. (Try the subtitles.) He lives with his mother and a community of travelers called Pikeys. At first, the American actor was hesitant to take the role, since he had just finished playing an underground fighter in David Fincher’s “Fight Club” (1999).
Plus, Bounty hunter Bullet-Tooth Tony (Vincent Peter Jones) survived six gunshots; gambler Franky ‘Four Fingers’ (Benicio Del Toro) had a finger chopped off for not paying a debt; Boris ‘The Blade’ (Rade Šerbedžija), is a ex-KGB killer, apparently graced with nine-lives; gangster Brick Top (Alan Ford), uses with a tried and true method to get rid of dead bodies, and London diamond dealer Doug ‘The Head’ Denovitz (Mike Reid), who tells everyone he’s Jewish (he’s not) “because it’s good business.” The plot hinges on New York jeweler/wiseguy ‘Cousin Avi’ Denovitz (Dennis Farina) and his bodyguard Rosebud (Sam Douglas), who fly from NYC to London looking for a prize 84-karat diamond.
(1) Turkish needs a new caravan as Sausage Charlie (Peter Szakacs) prepares some food. (2) Gangster Brick Top (Alan Ford). (3) New York jeweler/wiseguy ‘Cousin Avi’ Denovitz (Dennis Farina). (4) London diamond dealer Doug ‘The Head’ Denovitz (Mike Reid). (5) Bounty hunter Bullet-Tooth Tony (Vincent Peter Jones) and the two Denovitz twins - Susi (Teena Collins) and Alex (Nicola Collins).
Add small-time crooks Vinny (Robbie Gee), Sol (Lennie James), and their shaky driver Tyrone (Ade), hired by Boris to rob the bookie where Franky will place a bet for Boris, and then steal the briefcase holding the diamond attached to Four Fingers' wrist. Trust me, this double-cross is bound to go bad. Actors Gee and James celebrate their roles during the featurette, “White folks aren’t going to get it, but black folks watching will. We make it to the end of the movie.”
Rounding out the list is Turkish's longtime pal and business partner Tommy (Stephen Graham) and their boxer ‘Gorgeous’ George (Adam Fogerty). Thank goodness for Turkish’s free-spirited narration and Ritchie’s use of title cards, keeping us in the know with the zany twists-and-turns of boxing, diamonds and pigs.
In watching “Snatch,” it’s easy to find obvious stylized similarities to Steven Soderbergh’s highly successful caper “Ocean’s Eleven,” which came out a year later. It also features a number of split screens and a comparable music palette. Pitt stars in both.
The decade-plus old Blu-ray also includes storyboard comparisons to actual scenes, a photo gallery, deleted scenes, and an informative and comical commentary with Ritchie and his producing partner Matthew Vaughn, who also produced “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” (1998). Statham was to join them but stood them up.
Ritchie, who does most of the talking, describes his opening sequence as a swanky piece of filmmaking. As the film moves along, he salutes its many bit-actors, including Hungarian Judo heavyweight Peter Szakacs, who plays Sausage Charlie, Turkish’s cook. “He was feared throughout the Eastern Bloc countries, and somehow he ended working with us.”
(1&2) Tommy tries to negotiate a used caravan from Mickey O'Neil and the community of traveling Pikeys. (3&4) A boxing match ensues between Mickey and ‘Gorgeous’ George (Adam Fogerty) to determine the purchase of the caravan.
Ritchie admits his first cut of “Snatch” ran over three hours. “I must have fallen asleep during the editing since it ended up being only an hour and a half.” At one point, unsure if he was bored or not, he began humming. Shooting the pigsty scene, he says the smell was so bad all the actor’s clothes had to be burned. “No matter how many washes, it still smelled like pigs.”
The director also admired the beautiful Collins twins Nicola and Teena, who play Doug the Head’s daughters. “I was very taken with the twins. I wanted to get them more in the film. I don’t know where I went wrong.” Side note: Ritchie married pop star Madonna a few weeks after the premiere of “Snatch.” They had two children, but divorced in 2008.
As the film winds down, Ritchie says the original ending didn’t work. Months later, they filmed a new ending everyone was happy with.
Sony went back to the original 35mm camera negative (1.85:1 aspect ratio) and scanned each frame in 4K for this presentation. From the get-go, especially after the opening sequence made of split-screen composite shots and graphic title cards, the sharpness goes down a notch, although you’ll notice a nice upgrade over the old 2K mastered Blu-ray included in the package. Film grain is more pronounced throughout the 4K UHD, while clarity is more defined through distant objects now seen in wide shots, and better defined facial markings and whiskers in Mickey’s close-ups.
HDR10 grading is toned slightly darker than the older HD version, while mid-tones and highlights get a big boost with the finest grading. The blacks are nice and inky, with plenty of shadow detail. The color palette remains desaturated, and dialed to a greenish cool side.
(1) Doug ‘The Head’ examines some diamonds. (2&3) Small-time crooks Vinny (Robbie Gee), Sol (Lennie James), and their shaky driver Tyrone (Ade) head out to rob the bookie, but find the betting parlor closed for the day. “All Bets Are Off.” (4) ‘Cousin Avi’ and his bodyguard Rosebud (Sam Douglas), fly from NYC to London looking for the prize 84-karat diamond. (5) Boris ‘The Blade’ offers Sol and Vinny only $10,000 pounds, after originally offering $50,000.
The disc features two new eight-channel Dolby Atmos soundtracks with the American English track, plus the UK track with thicker accents mostly with Statham’s voiceover narration. Height speakers are used sparingly, but quite active during several gunshots. The subwoofer gets a nice workout with deep effects, and during the music with full and dynamic sound. Pop tunes include “Golden Brown” from The Stranglers; a simple and electronic “Diamond” from Klint; the soulful “Hot Pants (I’m Coming) with Bobby Byrd; “Lucky Star” from Madonna, and the jazzy trip-hop “The Sensual Woman” from The Herbaliser.
During its initial run “Snatch” made $30 million domestically and $83.5 million worldwide. Rotten Tomatoes ratings from critics topped at 74 percent, and 93 percent from audiences. So for Ritchie fans, this 4K upgrade purchase is a no-brainer for its black comedy bounce, cinematic dazzle and all-star cast.
— Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer
(1-3) The violence escalates. Cousin Avi wants the diamond, as Mickey’s family is attacked. (4) Sol and Vinny decided to get their own guns.
(1) Cousin Avi and his bodyguard Rosebud find Boris. (2) Vinny, Sol, and Tyrone crash their car with their squeaky dog. (3&4) Vinny and Sol pull a gun on Bullet-Tooth Tony and Cousin Avi.