Mandatory Movie Battles: Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Gentlemen’ vs. Guy Ritchie’s ‘Snatch’
There’s no doubt that Guy Ritchie is a genre within himself. From movies like Snatch to his most recent effort, The Gentlemen, Ritchie is known for bringing a kinetic approach to his filmmaking. Ritchie has applied this approach to multiple different genres throughout his career, and yet he seems to be the most successful when making movies within the gangster genre. And out of his entire filmography, the aforementioned films encapsulate Ritchie at the top of his game. With that in mind, we’re pitting both The Gentlemen and Snatch against one another in an epic Ritchie vs. Ritchie showdown. Which Ritchie will come out victorious? Let’s find out!
Cover Photos: Sony Pictures/STX Films
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Shot by Alan Stewart, The Gentlemen is one of Ritchie’s most visually dynamic films in terms of pure cinematography. Although Snatch was shot on 35mm film with far less of a budget, Tim Maurice Jones’ cinematography is still commendable. While the latter is far grittier in terms of its visual appeal, the cinematography of the former is slightly more refined and appropriate for the subject matter.
Winner: The Gentlemen
Although Ritchie himself wrote both Snatch and The Gentlemen, they both represent polar opposites of the crime genre. Whereas Snatch explores more of a low-rent, grungy side of the London criminal underworld, The Gentlemen traverses the world of England’s illegal upper-class drug trade. As a result, both screenplays constitute different sides of the same coin. Even though his most recent screenplay is certainly inventive, Snatch is only slightly tighter and better written.
As much as Guy Ritchie revels in excessively stylizing his movies, one of their signature elements is the darkly comedic sensibility they provide. While Snatch is certainly a funny movie in so many intentional and unintentional ways (Brad Pitt’s accent is ridiculous), The Gentlemen is arguably his funniest movie to date. This isn’t to say that the former isn’t funny. It’s just that the comedy in Ritchie’s most recent effort is far more broad and self-referential, which ultimately makes it far more interesting and universal.
Winner: The Gentlemen
While the direction in The Gentlemen is nothing to scoff at, it’s also pretty straightforward. There are certainly some interesting blocking choices within the various situations, but the movie is also tonally imbalanced at times. On the other hand, Snatch provides the perfect mix of style and substance while also accomplishing a tonal balancing act that actually adds layers to the story rather than detracting from it.
Editing and Structure
If there’s anything that Guy Ritchie is known for, it’s his quick editing and energetic pacing. Although both movies move at a breakneck pace, they also feature completely different structures. While it’s arguable that Snatch features tighter editing with fewer diversions, part of what makes The Gentlemen so delectable is that Ritchie indulges the best parts of his editing sensibilities. Ultimately, it’s the interesting little tangents that make the movie worth revisiting.
Winner: The Gentlemen
Action and Violence
While there are certainly plenty of surprises in The Gentlemen, it’s not really fair to call it an action film. While the film features spurts of violence, it leans into self-satire more than anything else. On the other hand, Snatch brings a nice mixture of action and violence that is neither overwhelming nor sparse. Even though the stylization of the violence is far more interesting in his most recent effort, Snatch is far more effective in this regard.
Ritchie’s films are perhaps best remembered for their epic ensemble casts and Snatch and The Gentlemen are possibly the best examples of this. Ritchie’s most recent effort boasts a formidable ensemble cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant, and Eddie Marsan. On the flip side, his 2000 gangster classic features the likes of Brad Pitt, Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Alan Ford, Lennie James, Dennis Farina, Rade Šerbedžija, and of course, Vinnie Jones. Despite being neck and neck in this category, Snatch pretty much improved the careers of everyone involved, which ultimately makes it more indelible than The Gentlemen.
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If you’re not a fan of Guy Ritchie’s movies, there’s nothing about The Gentlemen that will change your opinion of the filmmaker. If you are a fan of his work, however, then his latest film will certainly check all of the boxes that you would expect to get from a Ritchie movie. In fact, The Gentlemen and Snatch would make for a pretty great double feature. Aside from this, the fact remains that Snatch is a slightly better-focused effort than The Gentlemen – despite being a well-made film in itself.
Overall Winner: Snatch