Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Rating: B+

Dir: Guy Ritchie
Star: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham

Widely hailed as the best thing since sliced bread, this is indeed pretty good, but is really not much more than an Ealing comedy for the 90’s, although you can’t imagine Alec Guinness ever slamming someone’s head repeatedly in a car door. Bunch of blokes get turned over in a card game, and are left with a week to raise 500 grand or limbs will be lost. The result is a plot of such beautiful complexity you can only stand back and wonder; it’s like The Usual Suspects in reverse, with the audience the only people aware of everything that’s happening. The characters are also great, from posh dopeheads to West Indian pyromaniacs — the weakest facet is Ritchie’s direction, which has an unfortunate tendency to go into pop-promo mode far too often, and for no reason. Fine performances generally, with Vinnie Jones (yep!) and Fletcher the standouts. Not quite worth the hype but not far short.