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Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Year: 1998
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Jason Statham, Dexter Fletcher, Vinnie Jones, Alan Ford
It's fairly telling about a director's style and what audiences expect from him or her when Guy Ritchie goes against type by bringing us the notoriously panned and hated Swept Away (or maybe it's just because Madonna was in it).

But what he reproduced and improved upon in Snatch, he honed here. Seeming to know his own thing dealing with the seedy thugs and crims of London's grimy, sodden East End, Ritchie shines in every aspect from the sets to the actors.

He also has the rare gift of being able to treat bloodshed and potential terror like the light hearted, off-the-cuff quip from a cockney market seller.

Four friends (among them, only Statham has made a name for himself) raise the money to enter the high-priced poker game of local crime lord Harry, as one of them - Eddie - is faultless judging people's reactions.

Unaware that Harry, with the help of his formidable minder, cheats, what starts out as a 25 grand sure thing becomes a half million quid debt - with the promise of lost fingers and toes in the event of non payment.

The desperate foursome hatch a plan to come up with money, which soon involves a Ritchie-esuqe gang of thugs, low lives, drug pushers and other dubious geezers, including Vinnie Jones in his stand out performance (almost carbon copied for Snatch).

The bullets, blood and laughs start flying and Ritchie comes into his own depicting death, torture, and threatening behaviour like a bloke telling a joke in a pub, along with a very stylised execution of film stocks and effects. A quick witted, cockney, gold-toothed crook to the fat, lumbering, overstuffed Mafiosi most Hollywood crime comedies are.

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