March 16th 2017
7 hrs 30 mins
Snatch is a new British crime drama based on the 2000 Guy Ritchie film of the same name. Although it centres on all-new characters and an all-new storyline, there are many elements of the original film that appear in the TV show. Alongside London gangsters, this includes underground boxing matches, diamonds, and of course, gypsies.
The plot centres on Albert Hill (Luke Pasqualino), son of the incarcerated but notorious bank robber Vic Hill (Dougray Scott), and his friends Charlie (Rupert Grint) and Billy (Lucien Laviscount) as they come up with various schemes to get their hands on big money and pay off various debts, being eventually led to the infamous piles of gold Vic was caught with fifteen years previously. Over the course of the story the gang attempt to pull off a number of heists as the stakes get higher, and violence and danger greet them at every turn.
As a huge fan of both Guy Ritchie’s Snatch and the British crime genre more generally, as well as having admired both Luke Pasqualino and Rupert Grint for years (in a strictly professional sense, of course), the show caught my attention immediately, though I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it sooner. I quickly realised, however, why the show had slid under my radar until now.
The first couple of episodes promise the snap and bang that Guy Ritchie’s film flaunts. The characters and the premise are introduced with great style, and every scene serves to ramp up the feeling of anticipation in the London gangster scene. The characters seem strained at times, and the cockney accent is clearly uncomfortable and unconvincing on some of the actors, but otherwise the opening of the story is impressive.
Unfortunately, it all starts to go downhill from there. As the plot unfolds, the show starts to lose momentum and grows steadily less interesting. Where the film is full of twists and turns, each of them building to a theatrical finale, this formula just doesn’t translate successfully to television; everything that happens in pursuit of the gold feels like it is being dragged out, and everything else ends up looking a lot like filler.
The problem here seems pretty obvious: the new version of Snatch just can’t decide on how much it relies on its predecessor. The bits of the old Snatch that this version clings to gives the impression someone forgot the difference between a two-hour film and a seven-and-a-half-hour television series. Personally, I think the show would have been greatly improved by a completely new premise within this definitive genre.
I don’t mean to knock the show entirely, because there are some great elements and scenes to it. Snatch just wasn’t engrossing in the way I wanted it to be and my disappointment has really got to me.
If the crime genre is your thing, or if you’re a fan of the film then by all means give Snatch a go, but if you really want to enjoy it be prepared to keep your expectations a little lower than I did.