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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Edition No 894 

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LOCK STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS

SYNOPSIS:
Eddy (Nick Moran) is from London's East End, where crime is a bit of a lark, when it's not imitation Kray Bros. His particular talent is card playing. Three of his mates (Jason Fleming, Dexter Fletcher, Jason Statham) pool their ill-gotten and legit gains to make up the stake to play poker at porn king Hatchet Harry's place. Eddy's good, but Harry's game is fixed, and he goes down to the tune of half a mill, payable in a week, or Barry the Baptist (real life villain, the late Lenny McLean) will cut off his digits. Eddy and his mates have to come up with money sharpish. How they do it (or not) involves drug dealers, ex-public schoolboys, antique shotguns and an assortment of lightweight and heavy duty criminals.

>Here is one of those fresh, funny and unpredictable gems that the Brits make well. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is to crime and violence what Trainspotting was to drugs. And then some. First time writer/director Guy Ritchie has a smart aleck approach to cinema which brings with it a spontaneity missing from Hollywood's big guns. His script is loaded with a troupe of unforgettable larrikins, played with boisterous enthusiasm by a solid, ensemble cast. Nick Moran is wonderfully appealing as the film's central antihero, while footballer Vinnie Jones is a sly, masterful debt collector, who goes around with his less-than-innocent son. Ferocious at times in its violence, the film is also hilarious, poking fun at British establishment cinema with a real wink and a nod, and playing comic havoc in this Tarantino-type black comedy, with liberal doses of absurdity thrown in. Shot on a meagre budget, the movie is sharply cut, leading to a frenetically paced series of deliriously executed set pieces, including the drug robbery of all drug robberies. It's clever, fast, furious, entertainment."
Paul Fischer

"At one point, English subtitles flash on the screen. The thing is, the oral dialogue is also in English . . . sort of (thick cockney-accent/rhyming-slang-style-English to be precise). The idea isn’t original; a video-clip parody of enunciation impaired, Aussie popster James Reyne exploited the same concept over ten years ago – but it sure is funny. In fact, LS&2SB utilises every known technique for merging humour and violence to produce potent black comedy. It is a potpourri of clever production techniques, off-the-wall scenarios, non-gratuitous violence, gratuitous violence, cheap gags and snappy satire; plus more violence, more gags, some more violence . . . you get the picture. The pace is fast and furious throughout, and the serpentine plot has more twists and turns than an anaconda practising yoga. There are over half-a-dozen excellent performances, with particular standouts being Nick Moran as the petty hustler out of his depth and the late Lenny Mclean as the gang-boss’s stout, condescending henchman. Adding to the film’s wry flavour is the tongue-in-cheek menace of the punchy soundtrack – reminiscent in attitude, if not style, of Morricone’s spaghetti western work. In summary: dis ‘ere Rock, Pop and Two Jokin’ Jackals ain’t no Mary Poppins, Guv, bu’ i’ sho’ is F!$#?* entertainin’!"
Brad Green

"A fashion shoot from The Face magazine, disguised as a movie. Or maybe it's an award-winning ad for Guinness. In short, this is the latest young, fresh, hip British blockbuster – but that Trainspotting/Reservoir Dogs formula is looking pretty tired by now. As you'd expect, this New Lad romp is packed with designer violence, lovably sadistic hoodlums and comic torture scenes; the Coen brothers' Miller's Crossing was probably the main inspiration for the artfully grungy, sepia look, with pug-nosed gangsters looming out of oil-painting shadows. Deprived of the 'regional' local colour crucial to most recent British hits, the film scores some authenticity points with its affection for Cockney rhyming slang and old-fashioned spiv types (miraculously fashionable again). But the monotonously thuggish characters are really just cannon-fodder for a series of rollicking shoot-em-up encounters that are supposed to be thrillingly 'amoral.' In fact this jolly boys-own caper is about as edgy as a Famous Five adventure (the presence of Dexter Fletcher, from the great kids' TV show Press Gang, makes the point). The cynicism is real, though. This film is so empty it can't be intended as more than a 'calling card' – the director, Guy Ritchie, must be hoping he'll be asked to Hollywood to make the next Batman sequel. Is Ritchie the UK's Next Big Thing? Well, hopefully not."
Jake Wilson

"At the risk of starting a very large fire, this film is all the things Pulp Fiction could and should have been. The plot is very clever and has more twists than the Great Ocean Road. It has a delirious pace (after a slow start) and threatens to draw you from your seat at every turn as the fortunes of the protagonists change in flashes, from sky-high to rock bottom. Thus begins a violent, dangerous and funny ride to the unexpected conclusion of the film. There is little point trying to single out the most outstanding person in this film, as it is such a clever ensemble of people with a brilliant clutch of cameo appearances such as Danny John-Jules from Red Dwarf , who is sensational. The sleazy East London setting is moody and the direction, editing and music all combine to give the impression that you are part of the laddish culture of London's most notorious quarter. So laddish, in fact, that the movie is almost entirely devoid of women. The industrial soundtrack of the film is very stylish to go with the direction and adds to the overall flavour of a grey, glum end of London filled with colourful people. And if none of these things appeal to you, consider this: Hatchet Harry's desk is covered in rubber dildos and all involved are straight-faced at all times. If that's the kind of thing that amuses you, then you will split your sides."
Peter Anderson



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0
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SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

See Paul Fischer's interview with director GUY RITCHIE

LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (M15+)
(UK)

CAST: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Vinnie Jones, Sting, Lenny McLean, P.H. Moriaty, Steve Sweeney, Frank Harper

DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie

PRODUCER: Stephen Marks, Georgia Masters

SCRIPT: Guy Ritchie

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tim Maurice-Jones

EDITOR: Niven Howie

MUSIC: David A. Hughes, John Murphy (II)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Iain Andrews

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: PolyGram

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 12, 1998

Video Rental Release: Mar 25, 1999

Video Distributor: PolyGram

VIDEO Sell-Thru Release: October 13, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Universal

RRP: $29.95 (VHS)
RRP: $34.95 (DVD)







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