Snatch

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Snatch TV Poster Image
Appealing people make bad choices in violent heist series.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Many characters view working hard and saving as ridiculous -- in one telling scene, a father tells his son the best way to get what you want is to take it and it's fine as long as you don't get caught. However, the consequences of criminal acts are shown, with many characters serving jail terms due to their crimes. The show also deals in iffy messages about masculinity: "You're a Hill and Hills don't cry," a young boy is told. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Albert is tender towards his mother: picks up her outstanding bills and promises to "sort it," giving her a kiss, but he's also a grifter, cheats on bets, and patronizes loan sharks. Charlie is resentful of his friends, and steals from loved ones as well as strangers. Billy is an ethical fighter who refuses to take a dive to make money, but parents likely won't want their children to emulate a prizefighter. 

Violence

Many scenes take place at boxing matches with men pummeling each other; machine guns and hand guns are pointed and fired; characters are shot and killed with sprays of blood; during chase scenes bystanders are knocked down and hurt; scenes of mayhem in which men chase each other through busy streets trying to shoot each other; a bookie owed money threatens to take a character's finger; a man hits someone (offscreen) with a bat repeatedly as they scream in agony; a dead body is casually thrown into a garbage truck. The violence is not glamorized, exactly, since the characters are depicted as degenerates and many serve jail times. But this show clearly sympathizes with those who commit crimes as a means of getting ahead in life. 

Sex

A man and woman violently argue before he pushes her up against a wall and kisses her, she responds and takes money to "buy something transparent" to wear later. Both male and female characters are shown in revealing costumes and half-dressed -- no private parts are visible. A man holds up a woman's black lace panties to imply a friend had sex with their owner. One character's mother is heard moaning passionately during sex with a stranger. 

Language

Cursing and strong language: f--k, f--king, piss, s--t, bastard, bulls--t,  ass, English-style cursing: s--te, bollocks. An unappealing character calls a man a "half-pikey" (i.e. partly of Romani/Irish Traveller extraction; an ethnic slur). 

Consumerism

Characters talk constantly about money and how to get it; when men are robbing gold bars from a van, someone looks out his window and says "That's gangsta!" admiringly. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters make and sell infused vodka and drink beer and liquor; characters smoke cigarettes; there's a joke about "nose candy."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Snatch is a TV series based on the 2000 heist movie of the same name. Set the same downtrodden London neighborhood as the movie, the series has a similar tone and plot. Our main characters are strivers and sometimes-criminals, who make money by stealing, betting, and cheating others rather than by working for it -- this has led to jail terms for some. Frequent violence includes machine- and handgun shoot-outs; characters are suddenly shot and killed in sprays of blood. A loan shark threatens to "take a finger" from a man who owes him money. A criminal enforcer bludgeons someone (offscreen) to death with a bat as horrible screams are heard; later, his dead body is wrapped in a carpet and thrown casually into a garbage truck, with even his family members seemingly not shocked or saddened by the murder. There are jokes about and references to sex, including a scene in which a man pushes a woman up against a wall during a fight and kisses her; she responds positively. Frequent cursing and strong language includes multiple variations of "f--k" and "s--t" as well as "bastard," "piss," and sexist/ethnic slurs. Characters smoke cigarettes, drink, and joke about illegal drugs. 

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What's the story?

Based on the 2000 Guy Ritchie movie of the same name, SNATCH focuses on Albert Hill (Luke Pasqualino), a boxing promoter and small-potatoes crook who peddles phony designer shirts and other hot items from the back of the flower shop owned by his mother Lily (Juliet Aubrey) and father Vic (Dougray Scott), who's currently serving time for a long-ago heist. Albert owes money to a loan shark and he's getting desperate -- desperate enough to try to convince his prizefighter partner-in-crime Billy Ayres (Lucien Laviscount) to take a dive during a big match, and to trust his mate Charlie Cavendish-Scott (Rupert Grint) to make his bets on the match. But when that plan fails, leaving the trio in the hole for tens of thousands of dollars, they hatch a new scheme -- stealing what turns out to be a shocking cargo from coked-up Cuban mobster Sonny Castillo (Ed Westwick) that sets off a whole series of complications. 

Is it any good?

Fitfully amusing and staffed with appealing actors, this series is a worthy successor to the earlier film and just the thing for fans of heists-gone-wrong comedies. Of course, every plot twist is telegraphed, and the series' setting and characters read like sanitized-for-cable vintage Ritchie (which, even in the director's heyday, always came off like lukewarm Tarantino), complete with "whoosh" sounds when the camera spins from one frenetic setup to another. It's clear that Albert is the "good guy" even if he does not-so-good things, Vic is the cautionary example, Charlie the goofball who's apt to throw a monkeywrench in each of Albert's larcenous schemes. Each speaks in meme-ready tough-guy catchphrases ("You won't get the jewels if you ain't got the tools!"), and are motivated by one thing: ill-gotten gains. Snatch is more or less a good time, even if it's not as artful as other crimes-gone-wrong series like Fargo or Breaking Bad, offering the reliable thrills of watching less-than-admirable people strain to succeed, or sometimes just to survive, in a difficult situation the viewer doesn't have to cope with. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why TV shows like Snatch are frequently populated by criminals. What's interesting, dramatic, amusing about these characters and the situations they find themselves in? What's the impact of the violence on these types of shows -- for adults? For kids? 

  • Have you seen the original film with the same title on which this show is based? How is it like this show? How is it different? Why is a sequel of sorts following 17 years after the original film was released? 

  • Are viewers supposed to like Charlie, Billy, and Albert? Are they being presented sympathetically? What about the ways they're depicted, or what they say or do brings you to this conclusion? 

TV details

For kids who love action

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