Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Reviews
Original rating: 4/5, 2-20-2008.
I found myself blown away by Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It was a flawed film in quite a few ways because as it is Guy Ritchie's debut directional feature it had a few loose ends in part, but as a whole it really established what kind of a filmmaker he was. A lot of what viewers see in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels translated into many of his later works, for better and for worse, in particular the film Snatch. The negative elements that both films share are the fact that there is so much of a story crammed into the film that it can be somewhat overwhelming. By that I mean that there are so many characters key to the story due to playing main roles in the plot that it becomes difficult to keep up with them as the pace of the film is also pretty fast, and there are so many plot dynamics that it can be somewhat confusing. It's a film that might make sense the next time and is worthy of multiple viewings due to its vast entertainment value, but the first time around it can be a little confusing. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is not the best Guy Ritchie film in terms of narrative as it is largely style over substance, but it nevertheless remains a good film.
What Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels lacks in narrative it makes up for other elements in the script. Riddled with realistic and quick language as well as a lot of hilarious lines, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels benefits from Guy Ritchie's talents for crafting a script which is full of wit and originality. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has a script which is so organic and gives the actors a lot to work with in terms of wit and characters, and it makes the film more compelling and hilarious. Guy Ritchie gives the script its ideal treatment in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and is able to bring out all the intended energy that he wrote in. The script gives Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels an interesting premise and a lot of strong dialogue to help it move along while keeping a lot of snappy black comedy present which makes the film gritty and yet energetic and easy-going in nature at the same time.
But the finest element of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels comes from its visual style. As director, Guy Ritchie establishes his skill for creative and atmospheric cinematography as well as well timed editing. Capturing a lot of fine scenery with firm cinematography in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels through some innovative and creative techniques which are then edited at a pace which varies between quick at the right moments and slopw in others so that the atmosphere is constantly tied into the visual aesthetic of the film. Guy Ritchie really works hard to establish his own visual style in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and succeeds really well even on such a low budget. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels works as a great crime film partially because it maintains both its own style and many positive elements from various influential crime films. One key example is the fact that the narrative in the film is very similar to Reservoir Dogs, but not in a derivative way. It takes a similar premise and explores it in its own manner, and succeeds most of the time. The film ends on a literal cliffhanger as well, much like the final moment in the British cult classic The Italian Job which coincidentally was later remade with Jason Statham in it. It also features three cast members from the classic British crime film The Long Good Friday, so Guy Ritchie pays tribute to generations of influential cinema in his debut film.
And underneath all of its originality in terms of script and technical elements, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels succeeds further by failing to come up short in terms of cast, making use of a talented lineup of unknown actors and taking them to exceptional heights.
Jason Statham doesn't get as much screen time as you might hope, which is a slight dissapointment considering how great he went on to become as a leading man. But you really can't complain all that much since Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels does a fine job focusing on its characters evenly and Jason Statham's role was merely his debut performance. Still, he is great in the role because he works with the script so easily and puts his natural charisma into every second that he is on screen, delivering a fine debut performance. Jason Statham delivers what his best talents are really all about with his role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
Former profressional footballer Vinnie Jones also proves to deliver an excellent performance in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. He is really straight up in the way that he handles the material in his debut performance by maintaining an emotionally aggressive sense of grit the entire time. He dominates his role by being so physically involved and not stepping out of the role for a minute. He delivers every word with a serious sense of involvement in the material and a passion for the crime drama themes which makes it impressive. The past has proven that it is a challenge for a professional sportsman to transition into acting, but Vinne Jones does it seamlessly and steps up to the material in the script excellently.
Vas Blackwood makes a memorable impact in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels because he is so firm in his line delivery that it varies between being intense and being hilarious at times. He is so deep in the character that he sometimes seems as if he has drifted off into the mind of the character. He doesn't leave it for a second, and he is perfectly tense which captures the crime elements of the drama in the script easily. Vas Blackswood is easily able to work with both the gritty dramatic paterial of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as well as its comedic elements, and so his performance is memorable and his presence is genial because he fits the profile of his part easily.
Lenny McLean is also terrific as a part of the cast because he really projects a sense of confidence as well as intimidation in his part due to his heavy physical stature and the way that he delivers his lines with an aggressive sense of wisdom. Jason Flemyng is great in his supporting effort, Sting and Nick Moran do good jobs, and Dexter Fletcher is bloody hilarious with his over the top charisma.
So despite its narrative flaws, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is an engaging, gritty and hilarious crime thriller film which establishes the talents of both an skillful cast and Guy Ritchie's excellent talents as a writer and film director.