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Snatch


A note on the disguise of art as chance

This is the only Guy Ritchie comedy in which the narrator is the protagonist. He is a man given to sarcastic humor. Still & all, he is the only man who can give us commentary on the setting, the actors, & the action. We are startled to learn that he is no mastermind & is as liable to be surprised as we are. It is the business of comedy to teach unusual individuals about the problem of chance.

The story revolves around two things that fail to happen. A particular fight does not turn out the way it is supposed to, showcasing the many difficulties under which criminals trying to fix illegal boxing labor, & the delivery of a stolen diamond is indefinitely delayed by countless misplacements, or robberies, of the precious stone. Had these two events not been crimes, the consoling sympathy of mankind & legal redress might have been sought.

Betrayal, the groundlessness of trust, & the failure of models & ideals to materialize are what we see. Really, all these criminals would do better to obey the laws, if they want to make life predictable. Indeed, if crime is merely human, the law has a more plausible title to divine origins. But then again, pursuit of the good as such seems to be marred by acquisitive passions untaught in the ways of necessity.

Our protagonist is named after a plane which crashed, an event survived by his parents, who were thus introduced. This does not go so far as to make a virtue of necessity, but the effect of chance on human designs cannot be judged without first wondering whether this means that it would have been better for the man not to have been born at all. After all, the sarcasm betrays an unhappy awareness of the futility of human endeavors.

In the end, our protagonist tells the policeman the only thing in the story which may be considered a lesson: Do not trust gypsies. Everyone knows they are deceptious. People despise them as a matter of course nevertheless, criminals included. Who knew people were quite this moral? These ugly, unclean creatures that hardly speak an intelligible English nevertheless are our teachers when it comes to necessity.

This is also the only Guy Ritchie comedy in which the denouement does not come about by accident, but by design. The design, however, is dark, belonging to these gypsies, who neither live in nor are restrained by the city. Our protagonist may or may not have acquired any wealth in the process. His attempt to make money suggests his understanding of wealth does not yet include understanding. Perhaps this is the comic poet’s opinion of mankind as such.

Guy Ritchie‘s wittiest, most famous comedy.