I know I've been really really behind on Blind Spot. I have 5 films still on my list to watch when I should have 4. I am about 2 months behind on this but I'm slowly slowly catching up.
This month I finally watched a modern British classic, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Every time I've mentioned it to people, they've done the step back and 'What? You've never seen it?'. Yes. I had never seen it. When I was younger I just wasn't interested but I saw Guy Ritchie's later films, Snatch in particular made me sit up and take note. Of course everyone knows Ritchie for Sherlock Holmes and most recently The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He brought his grit from his early films in Sherlock Holmes and his style to UNCLE. But my favourite film of his is RocknRolla. To me, its severely underated.
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has the signature cross over of story lines, which all come to a head and make complete sense. There also always seems to be a group or a couple of 'good guys' who are forced to do something bad that they're actually ok with doing. Then there are the usual 'bad guy gangsters' who surround the story with confusion, pitch perfect dialogue and deserved outcomes. In the later films, there does seem to be casualites but, where it all started, get tied up in a, not exactly a neat box but a room full of corpses. It sounds horrific but its a very amusing discovery scene.
The explain the complicated plot of all the groups and characters invloved would take literally the entire length of the film, so I'll summerise. It all revolves around a card game gone wrong, a debt that needs to be paid, an attic full of weed and a pair of antique shot guns.
Eddy and his four friends, Tom, Soap and Bacon, all put money so that Eddy, a top poker player, can play at Hachett Harry's table. He is a notorious gangster, porn merchant and all round nasty guy. He cheats at poker fircing Eddy into a hole where he now owes Harry half a million pounds. Meanwhile, in the flat next to Eddy's, are a group of dealers planning to rob a group of posh guys who grow weed for another local gangster Rory Breaker. So Eddy and his friends decide to rob the neighbours when they return from they're heist. Harry's enforcer, Big Chris (and his son), visit various people to make sure they pay back money owed and end up caught in the mess later on.
Winston and the weed growers
Dog and the gang
This is the jist of the whole story, but it does indeed end in a blood bath and a shower of guns. 'This is fucked. No money. No weed. Its all been replaced by a pile of corpses.' What is interesting is the show of guns in the film, as any Brit knows, getting hold of guns, shot guns not included isn't as easy as in the US. But Eddy and his friends do have a problem getting guns and at one point end up with the antique guns.
'A minute ago this was the safest job in the world. Now it's turning into a bad day in Bosnia.'
The film is unbelievably quotable. Every other line I seem to have heard before from someone somewhere. One in particular is during the heist at the weed growers, the posh boys attempt to defend themselves are start shooting. The leader of the group, Dog, gets fed up and says 'I don't fucking believe this! Can everyone stop gettin' shot?'. This is actually in a late 90's song at the start. I never knew until now it was from this film. I was laughing my way through the film, which may sound bad beacuse of the high body count but the script is just too good. I'm sorry to say this but the British wit of Ritchie's earlier films hasn't carried over to the later 'bigger' films.
The cast are absolutely perfect and anyone who knows Brit Grit or just British films will recognise them all. Vinnie Jones of course is heavily used, especially in the trailer, as most would have known him as the footballer. Now its a shame for to be used as a stereotype, same with Jason Statham. But ah well, we can sigh and hope they return to excellent form and maybe Guy Ritchie. One thing that no one couldn't not notice is the lack of women. In fact, there are really only two women in the film. One doesn't talk but does make a point with a machine gun. The other is past middle age and only has a few lines at the poker game. That's it. The two women aren't on the screen for more than a minute each but when they're there, they make a point.
I've never been into gangster films and maybe this film isn't really about gangsters, but there is something gritty and yet effortless about British films of this genre. Nothing is glamourous and theres always an underline that everything is actually pretty cheap and rough. With American gangster films, there is always that fine line where the life looks good but as always, character is better over substance and my gad does Lock Stock have brilliant characters. Plus, you know when a film has class and status when Sting plays the lead's Dad who owns a bar.
In the words of Big Chris 'It's been emotional'.
To see where it all started and for an excellent insight to film, have a look at The Matinee and have a look HERE for more Blind Spot posts from other bloggers.