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Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Year: 1998
Production Co: Polygram Filmed Entertainment
Director: Guy Ritchie
Producer: Matthew Vaughan
Writer: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Nick Moran, Jason Flyming, Dexter Fletcher, Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones
A young gun director came and tore up British cinema back in 1998, injecting Tarantino cool, Michael Bay editing and a genuine sense of menace into the droll world of East End gangsters in 'Lunnin'.

The British cinema industry seemed incapable of anything apart from the dreary, dramatic, coalworks style of Get Carter and The Krays when it came to gangster films, and Guy Ritchie turned it all on its head with inventive camerawork, great dialogue and a cracking story.

Four friends — all of whom are played by actors who've gone on to careers of various degrees of success — pool their money to enter a high stakes poker game organised by local mobster Harry. Eddie (Moran) can't lose — his ability to read people is a cinch.

But Harry cheats, and when the boys lose $25,000 and Harry gives them a short time to pay up or start paying with Eddie's Dad's pub, then their limbs, they're in trouble.

They decide to hold up a drug deal going down to raise the cash, and when a host of sordid characters and at least two antique guns worth a fortune fall into the melting pot it's a wonder anyone will get alive.

Funny, brutal, fast-talking and with a swagger all its own, it marked the arrival of a major directorial talent who went one further with the brilliant Snatch, then flubbed it with Swept Away the vanity project of his wife Madonna and the world's worst actress, and Revolver, so badly received in the UK it was screened hardly anywhere else.

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