Movie? Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. We’re moving right along in our quest here! Every week I like to take a look at and analyze the big review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes. This can reveal some interesting information about the film without busting out the spoilers. Well, it doesn’t spoil except for those unscrupulous reviewers without sensitivity!
How does Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels fare on the Tomatometer? Critically, it’s rather weak! 76% based on 58 reviews. Granted, 58 is a pretty low sample size. The problem here was likely that not enough people reviewed it. When compared to the audience rating of 92%, we see the largest disparity for critics and audiences encountered so far on the IMDB Quest. Last week a multitude of critics found fault with Casino, while a higher portion of movie watchers liked it. It was a populist’s film in that case lacking somewhat in artistic merit. Well, for my sake I’d rather watch a good film than one that was well-made and over my head.
What are some positive thoughts about the movie? Roger Ebert gave a positive review, so let’s start there!
“By the end of it all, as you’re reeling while trying to make sense of the plot, “Lock, Stock, etc.” seems more like an exercise in style than anything else. And so it is. We don’t care much about the characters (I felt more actual affection for the phlegmatic bouncer, Barry the Baptist, than for any of the heroes). We realize that the film’s style stands outside the material and is lathered on top (there are freeze frames, jokey subtitles, speed-up and slo-mo). And that the characters are controlled by the demands of the clockwork plot.
But `Lock, Stock’ is fun, in a slapdash way; it has an exuberance, and in a time when movies follow formulas like zombies, it’s alive.”
Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com
Reading that review you’ll notice that the end impression is strong, but throughout he peppers the text with nitpicks. The film is bewildering, the plot difficult to follow on the first viewing, the actors too young, more stylish than substantial. Perhaps this won’t be a bad thing when all is said and done. That’ll be up to us!
So what do the negative Nancys have to say about it?
“The storyline bounces around like a leaf in the wind. Although there are several funny episodes, the picture as a whole never quite gels.”
Steve Rhodes, IMDB.com
Really, given my reading of the negative reviews (that one right there actually felt more positive in tone than Ebert’s!), it just seems like the characters are relatively indistinguishable for the most part. It’s likely not going to be helped much by the cockney accents, just as I imagine a Brit would have trouble in the deep South. Otherwise, it appears to be as funny as the trailers make it out to be.
Given the facts assembled from this project, my enthusiasm is renewed! Positive impression from Rotten Wednesday!