Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels

Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

For exuberance, inventiveness and gut-spilling humour, Guy Ritchie's debut takes some beating. It has the confidence you find in American indy flicks, those daring Sundance-pleasers, no longer wrapped in Tarantino's mantle, avoiding pastiche like the plague, taking risks and having fun.

Eddy (Nick Moran) is from London's East End, where crime is a bit of a lark, when it's not imitation Kray Bros. His particular talent, apart from con artistry, which comes with the territory, is card playing. Three of his mates (Jason Fleming, Dexter Fletcher, Jason Statham) pool their ill-gotten and legit gains to make up the stake to play poker at porn king Hatchet Harry's place.

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Eddy's good, but Harry's game is fixed, and he goes down to the tune of half a mill, payable in a week, or Barry the Baptist (real life villain, the late Lenny McLean), so named for his propensity to drown debtfaulters in a bucket, will cut off his digits. Eddy and his mates have to come up with a money-making scheme sharpish, or it is poverty and pain forever more. How they do it (or not) involves drug dealers, ex-public schoolboys, antique shotguns and an assortment of petty and heavy duty criminals. The plot races along at breakneck speed, cleverly leading to a cliff edge conclusion.

The humour is as black as your hat and the actors, which include footballer Vinnie Jones giving a faultless performance, enter into the spirit of the thing. Violence and comedy do go together, although not often in the cinema, which is why some people may be shocked by the Shakespearean body count. Not since Trainspotting has a British film had such courage of conviction, or been so imaginative in its execution.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels packshot
After losing in a card game a London con has to make the money back fast.
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Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Nicholas Rowe, Nick Marcq, Charles Forbes, Vinnie Jones, Lenny McLean, Peter McNicholl, Vas Blackwood

Year: 1997

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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