Nominee #5 - Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.
Starring Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Vinnie Jones and Sting, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) is amongst the most impressive feature film directorial debuts of the 1990s.
Loss at a rigged card game forces four desperate friends to pull off a heist of their neighbour's loot. But as with all such schemes involving unsavoury personalities (debt collectors, thieves, drug dealers and gangsters), nothing goes according to plan. As things unravel into a web of moves and counter moves (too many to outline here with any degree of clarity!) with absolutely hilarious results, a couple of antique shotguns get thrown into the mix.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) is amongst the most impressive feature film directorial debuts of the 1990s.
Guy Ritchie’s first feature film as a Director (he also wrote the film), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels combines freeze frames, slow motion sequences, camerawork with attitude, cheeky narration and brilliant dialogue to take the viewer on an exuberant, unpredictable, wild and playful story of silliness, told with style!
Convoluted but outrageously funny, this brain melting crime comedy featured a relatively unknown cast at the time (announcing to the world a new action talent in the then unknown Jason Statham!). But what it lacked in star power, it made up for with its giddy mix of clever one-liners, sharp characterisation, a twisted plot unfolding at a frenetic pace, an eclectic Brit-rock soundtrack and tongue-in-cheek acting performances. No wonder the film went on to become a cult classic that inspired a number of similar styled romp-and-roar crime capers.
Guy Ritchie’s follow-up film - Snatch (2000) (which included many of the cast members from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - Vinnie Jones, Jason Statham and Alan Ford) sees the director exploring even further the dark, witty and messy world of the 1998 film. A spin-off television series called Lock, Stock... - co-written and created by Guy Ritchie – was also released in 2000.