For those who care, Madonna has found her match in Guy Ritchie, whose absence of talent when it comes to the film medium is equal to her own. Ritchie's Snatch is a retread of his debut feature, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: many of the same actors, same editing overload (which doesn't keep you from noticing that there isn't a single interestingly framed shot in the entire film), same hollowness through and through.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around a stolen diamond as big as the Ritz which passes through the hands of many rival gangsters until it makes its way into the intestines of a ridiculously uncharismatic pit bull. The dog eventually does what dogs do, thus enabling the happy few who are left alive at the final fade to look ahead to a life of luxury. Actually, it's the remaining white gangsters who come out on top while their black brethren get the short end of the stick.

‘‘Nothing was standing still’’: The defendants in the town square in Scottsboro.
photo: Social Media Productions
‘‘Nothing was standing still’’: The defendants in the town square in Scottsboro.


Scottsboro: An American Tragedy
Directed by Barak Goodman and Daniel Anker
Screening Room
January 19 through 25

Written and directed by Guy Ritchie
A Screen Gems release
Opens January 19

Several cuts above their surroundings are Brad Pitt, as an Irish gypsy and bare-knuckles fighting champion, and Benicio Del Toro in a too brief turn as a hapless thief done in by his gambling jones. Mumbling his dialogue through his nose, Pitt gets maximum comic mileage out of a one-joke role; his dialect is as incomprehensible to everyone else on the screen as it is to the audience.

Snatch is a particularly wearying example of a recent wave of British gangster films, most of which are so pointless that they've made it difficult for such genre gems as Mike Hodges's Croupier and Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast (due to open in the States in late spring) to get the audiences they deserve. Sexy Beast has everything Snatch lacks: two complicated central characters brilliantly played by Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley, a strikingly sensuous visual style, a fab score, and a wonderfully sustained and original heist sequence. Take a pass on Snatch and wait for the real deal.

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