Release Date(s)2000 (July 13, 2021)
Studio(s)Screen Gems/SKA Films/Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: B+
- Extras Grade: C
Turkish (Jason Statham) is a London-based unlicensed boxing promoter, who gets in over his head when a fighter he’s already committed to a match run by the odious Brick Top (Alan Ford) gets hospitalized in a disagreement over a caravan with a young Irish Traveller (aka “pikey”) named Micky (Brad Pitt), who also happens to be a bare-knuckle champion. When Micky agrees to replace said fighter in Brick Top’s match, he declines to take a fall as ordered, getting Brick Top in Dutch with some rather unsavory gamblers and Turkish and his buddy Tommy (Stephen Graham) in Dutch with Brick Top. Meanwhile, Frankie Four Fingers (Benicio del Toro) has just stolen an 86-carat diamond in a heist in Antwerp meant to benefit a New York City jeweller named Cousin Avi (Dennis Farina). But when Frankie gets set up by one of his accomplices, Avi flies to London and hires Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) to track him and the diamond down. And as you might be able to guess, when all of these knuckle-headed criminal geniuses begin to cross paths, comic mayhem ensues.
Snatch is, without question, Guy Ritchie’s best film. Part of this is a result of brilliant casting across the board, and part of it is simply the sheer energy of Ritchie’s direction. But the real magic of the film is Pitt’s wildcard performance as Micky. Not only does Pitt commit to the role, he actually manages to disappear into it. There’s not a single line of dialogue he says that’s easily intelligible (and that’s by design), but he goes for it with a zeal that must be seen to be appreciated. To be fair, Snatch hasn’t aged as well as one might imagine. In fact, there are parts of it today that feel downright slow. But the film is still as crudely funny as ever, and its rogues gallery of criminal nincompoops is simply glorious to behold.
Snatch was shot on 35 mm photochemical film using Moviecam and Arriflex cameras with spherical lenses, and it was finished on film at the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. For its release in Ultra HD, the original camera negative and master interpositive were scanned in 4K to create a new 4K Digital Intermediate, complete with grading for high dynamic range (HDR10 is available on this disc). The result is an improvement upon the 2009 Blu-ray release, but not as big an improvement as you might be expecting. Part of the problem is Ritchie’s frequent and clever use of graphically-complicated transitions (some of which were produced optically), not to mention early (and thus low-resolution) digital effects. Much of this footage is therefore a generation or two down from the original camera negative, which results in a notable loss of fine detail. When we are looking at actual neg however, fine detail is excellent, with medium grain. But the film’s gloomy palette means the HDR doesn’t have quite as much of a chance to really shine as other titles on the format. Still, colors are somewhat richer and more refined than ever before, and the highlights are now much bolder. The blacks are deeper too, with nice shadow detail, but they’re still a bit gray looking as well (just as they’ve always been given the heavy use of on-set atmospherics). All in all, this is still a solid image upgrade.
Sony’s 4K UHD includes a pair of new Dolby Atmos sound mixes (both in English, one for the US release and one for the UK) that are a cut above the previous Blu-ray’s 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. (Note that the domestic Blu-ray included only the US track, so the UK is new to this release—the difference seems to be that Statham’s accent in the voiceover narration is a little thicker in the latter.) But again, Snatch isn’t a film that really dazzles sonically. There’s nice and smooth movement from time to time, particularly during the aforementioned transitions, and when the gunfire begins, it has plenty of bite and low-end heft. Where the mix really shines is with nearly constant low-level atmospherics—crowd sounds during the boxing matches, rainfall on the windshield during car conversations, the sound of slot machines, a rolling hubcap, and the like. The film’s soundtrack shines too, with needle-drops by the likes of The Stranglers, The Specials, Massive Attack, and Oasis all presented in excellent fidelity. Dialogue is clean, though some of the accents are so thick you may wish to turn on the subtitles. (Just don’t expect an exact word-for-word transcription; more than one “cheeky little shite” slips through.) Additional audio options on the 4K disc include the previous 5.1 English DTS-HD MA mixes (again for both the US and UK) and 5.1 Dolby Digital in Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish (Voice Over), Portuguese, Russian (Voice Over), Castilian Spanish, and Latin Spanish. Optional subtitles are available in English (US), English (US) SDH, English (UK), English (UK) SDH, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovene, Castilian Spanish, Latin Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish.
There are no extras on Sony’s 4K UHD disc, but the package also includes the film in 1080p HD via the 2009 Blu-ray. That disc offers the following special features (most carried over from the original 2000 DVD release):
- The Snatch Cutting Room (BD-Java interactive feature)
- What Is the Cutting Room? (HD – 2:19)
- Movie IQ (BD-Java playback option for production trivia and the like)
- Audio Commentary with Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn
- Deleted Scene: The Pub (SD – with optional commentary – 1:28)
- Deleted Scene: A Bigger Bully (SD – with optional commentary – 1:47)
- Deleted Scene: “Whoops” (SD – with optional commentary – 1:54)
- Deleted Scene: Fake Stone (SD – with optional commentary – 2:14)
- Deleted Scene: “Good Boy, Mullet” (SD – with optional commentary – :55)
- Deleted Scene: The Dawg (SD – with optional commentary – :38)
- Making Snatch (SD – 24:42)
- Introduction of the Characters – Storyboard Comparison (SD – 1:12)
- Introduction of the Characters – Storyboards Only (SD – 1:12)
- Avi Goes to London – Storyboard Comparison (SD – :11)
- Avi Goes to London – Storyboards Only (SD – :11)
- The Big Fight – Storyboard Comparison (SD – 5:29)
- The Big Fight – Storyboards Only (SD – 5:29)
- Video Photo Gallery (SD – 5:16)
- Teaser Trailer (SD – :53)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:02)
- TV Spot #1 (SD – :32)
- TV Spot #2 (SD – :32)
- TV Spot #3 (SD – :32)
The audio commentary is the best of this lot by far, though it’s surprisingly low key. (And pretty early on we learn that Statham was supposed to have joined Ritchie and his producer for this recording, but he bailed on it.) The Cutting Room is a BD-Java feature that allows you to create your own edit of the fight scene. It wasn’t particularly interesting in 2009, back when the studios were struggling to find a good use for BD-Java, and it’s just as uninteresting now. The same is true of the Movie IQ viewing option. The rest of this material is brief and glossy, though the deleted scenes are worth a look. You also get a Movies Anywhere Digital code on a paper insert.
Think of Snatch as a mash-up of Ritchie’s previous Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels crossed with the Keystone Cops and you’re in the right ballpark. Sony’s new 4K Ultra HD release offers a decent A/V upgrade to be sure, but nothing in the way of frills. The good news though is that it’s priced accordingly, so it’s easy to recommend for fans of the film.
- Bill Hunt