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Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels
1998
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Running time 107 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars


Following in the spirit of films such as Trainspotting and Reservoir Dogs, abrasive and energetic, writer-director Guy Ritchie’s film is a marvellously novel piece of pop cinema that pioneeed a whole raft of similar films dealing with potty-mouthed Cockney villains and their ruthless doings.

As distinctively English (albeit very different in attitude) as an Ealing Studios crime comedy the cleverly-plotted film tells the story of a foursome of East End lads, Eddy (Nick Moran), Tom (Jason Flemyng), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), and Bacon (Jason Statham) who think that they can win at a high-stakes poker game run by Hatchet Harry Lonsdale (P.H. Moriarty).  But Harry runs a crooked game and the boys find themselves half a million quid in debt, with only seven days to pay. or else Harry will live up to his nickname. As good fortune has it they overhear their neighbors planning to rob a bunch of drug dealers and they decide to rob the robbers. Which they do but what seemed simple enough gets complicated as other villains turn up and things get out of control.

Part of the enjoyment of Ritchie’s film is in the many twists and turns of the plot, part in the outrageous characters, part in the zesty directing. The whole thing, no matter how nasty it turns, is delivered with high spirited black humour that, quite exceptionally, never flags from beginning to end.

 

 

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