The overpacked crime film heads to the small screen in a desperate-to-impress new series that proves oddly fascinating
The first thing youll notice about Crackles new Snatch adaptation are the accents. Oh good God, the accents. Everyones at it. There are Scottish people playing English people, English people playing American people, northern people playing southern people. And, almost without exception, they miss the mark by a country mile. Watching Snatch is like travelling to a dimension where Don Cheadles character from Oceans Eleven has repopulated the world by having babies with Benedict Cumberbatchs character from Black Mass, before bringing them up in a haunted sensory deprivation chamber.
The second thing youll notice is how extraordinarily hard it tries. Snatch is a show packed to the gills with freeze-frames and filters, to the extent that Instagram probably should have been credited as a producer. Its the kind of show where every single doorway must be walked through in slow motion, accompanied by an inexplicable whooshy noise. All the men are swaggering blokes. All the women are clench-jawed and sexualised. Its less a television series and more a botched attempt to break the world record for longest bodyspray commercial. It is endlessly, desperately in thrall to Guy Ritchie. And, since Guy Ritchie was desperately in thrall to Tarantino when he made Snatch, the whole thing comes off as spectacularly inauthentic; a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox.
The dialogue, too, stinks like a corpse on a hot day. At one point in the first episode, a Cuban character gets angry and yells: You make me wanna salsa! Two scenes later, the recipient of his anger drinks some gin, turns to the manufacturer and says: Cardamom and vanilla? Youve got some bollocks. I havent checked, but Im fairly certain that the screenwriter of Snatch is a scraping algorithm that went berserk and fell in love with Danny Dyer. In no way, viewed from any conceivable angle, is Snatch a good television programme.
But thats fine, because Snatch wasnt a very good film either. It was an overpacked, overcomplicated hodgepodge of ideas, made by Guy Ritchie like hed just been told hed never get to work again. It was too showy, too convoluted. It was a mess. Meanwhile, the TV show barely has any ideas, which actually ends up working in its favour. All the storylines have been streamlined, and every new development being explained and explained again, just to make sure that everyone gets it. Its shameless spoon-feeding, but at least its easy to digest.
As a result, I found myself willingly sitting through every available preview of the series. Because, while it might be ludicrously obnoxious while it might come off like a harrowing Bugsy Malone remake of We Still Kill The Old Way theres something thats genuinely fascinating about it.
It might be the inclusion of Rupert Grint as star and executive producer. Unlike Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, Grint is still squarely in the run away from Harry Potter stage of his career. The character he plays here, a chain-smoking criminal aristocrat with a penchant for ecstasy, is very deliberately the anti-Weasley. And, to Grints credit, he commits wholeheartedly. His character looks completely lived in, like he was crumpled up wet and shoved into a cupboard. He looks a good 20 years older than he actually is. It isnt a good performance in the traditional sense, but its an interesting one.
If youre of a certain inclination, Snatch seems like the sort of thing youll gulp down in one go, hungover, in a single afternoon, with Football Manager on the go on your laptop. And this means that Snatch has joined the ranks of Buffy and Friday Night Lights as a show thats better than its parent film. Although, lets not muck about here, it didnt exactly have the biggest hurdle to clear.
- All episodes of Snatch are now available on Crackle