Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Well, I’m only 14 years too late on this one… but I’ve discovered that I’ve been late to act on a lot of things lately. Still, those that I can fix; like watching certain movies that had been heralded as “must see”; I may as well do. I had actually borrowed the screener copy of Lock, Stock from work way back in the days of VHS with full intentions of watching it before it came out….last century….yeah, really, in ’99. Life got in the way back then I suppose, but as myself and Life are sidestepping each other these days, I present to you my Friday night.
First let me quickly say that I had to rent this one on Blu Ray, making it the second Blu Ray I’ve ever watched. Neither of them have shown me any benefit to the format. The first was Beginners with Ewan McGregor, Mélanie Laurent and Best Supporting Oscar winner Christopher Plummer, a character driven piece with no real special effects, and now Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a low budget indie film made well before the words “high def” were ever spoken. One day I’ll watch something that will take advantage of Blu Ray’s promises, but as you can probably see I’m in no hurry.
Since I’m so late to the dance on this one, there really isn’t much to say about Guy Ritchie’s first film that you probably don’t already know. The film seemed to break new ground with the British gangster genre; had a quirky, twisty plot; some rather amazing, well chosen music; and gave Jason Statham his first big break into the world of acting. It also debuted a lot of things that would become part of Ritchie’s trademark and feature in future films: the slow motion effects during a shoot out pop up as “Holmes-vision”, the use of language (foul and slang); high speed photography; and separate plot threads that would all come together and tie themselves up in a nice neat package at the end. The film was enjoyable on several levels, first seeing the “birth” of all these concepts, second because it was a very good story, and well told. I did catch on to how everything was going to wrap itself up pretty easily, but still just because I could see it coming, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be enjoyed. Some scenes did tend to drag a little, and it did start a little slowly I thought, for a film that I had heard so many people talk about the great pace.
Good stories will always win me over, but as well I really enjoyed the cast in this movie. There was not a single weak link in my opinion. Every character contributed something positive to the overall mood of this film, and that is really quite rare. I don’t think there were any “fluff” characters that could have been written out, because Ritchie wrote this film with the intention of every character being tied up in the nice neat package he was creating for us.
Would I add Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels to my “must see” recommendation list? I think so; I think I may even make such a list some day. Even though I had a few negative points with the film, they were well outpaced by the good points. If you are like me, and nearly a decade and a half out of date, get out there and watch this one; at least then you’ll know what everyone else has been talking about all this time.