Not since Fear and Loathing has a movie affected my chosen lifestyle so profoundly. In that case, back in 1997, I walked real funny, wrote meandering pieces like this one and made some ‘special new friends.’
Snatch is the semi-sequel to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a movie that made some American tourists choose Paris over London as a holiday destination (having never seen La Haine). A flashy heist movie, Lock, Stock… offered a ‘hip’ and ‘trendy’ alternative to the myriad of action movies that took themselves too seriously. It was a combination of a Quentin Tarrantino dialogue, humorous yet intimidating characters and more twists and turns than bedsheets during a nightmare.
Snatch is essentially the same, but tighter and more fun.
Director Guy Ritchie, having married Madonna, took the opportunity to publicise the movie quite frequently on her breasts (via a trendy t-shirt). The 2001 sequel updates include added Hollywood stars (Benicio Del Toro, Brad Pitt), extra music (the Specials, Mirwais, Greek Ethnic Jams) and increased accessibility: The movie is showing in most theatres, where as Lock, Stock… did not. The plot weaves too much for me to describe; but basically lots of stuff happens, quite quickly, to people, in cool ways, while music plays, loudly.
Most notably though, the film plays with reality decay, a strange concept that essentially describes the effect that visual stimuli has on individual perceptions. Example: playing video games degrades reality because an alternative world is accessed, a new universe of different incentives, impulses and goals. And when an individual becomes removed from this new world, his individual reality is decayed??the strings do not rise up when he kisses his lover, drums do not sound as he runs to Walsh. Snatch is a virtual melting pot of this effective stimuli; it innundates you with it. For two hours the popcorn in your lap disappears and the cough in your throat fades. And when you walk out into the white wind of Dupont Circle, back into the real world, no soundtrack, no quick plot changes you wish you had just finished … that the projectionist was reeling you back into an aluminum can.
I even maintained certain (embarassing) character traits long after the film ended in attempt to hold onto that other reality. Cigarette smoke, not completely inhaled, trailed thick from my lips. When laughing, I stuck out my tongue. My gray tweed coat became more of a source of intimidation than a shield against winter. A friend and I drove around Virginia, windows down, hands beating time to the wind against the background of the movie soundtrack.
These are delusions of course, but you sometimes need a delusional reason to get up in the morning. Occasionally I get up because, among other things, as a movie suggested, good music and humor can turn boredom into excitement. Movies should make your own reality better.