Jessica Welman, John Cook and James Ross are back for another episode of Cinema Reels and this time they will be casting their eyes over Guy Ritichie’s directorial debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The film follows a heist involving a confident young card sharp who loses £500,000 to a powerful crime lord in a rigged game of three-card brag prompting him to pay off his debts by enlisting his friends to help him rob a small-time gang operating out of the apartment next door. 

Lock Stock is a classic British film and John, given that he is the show’s resident Londoner, begins the episode by providing a potted history of London’s east end and also explaining the cultural significance of the film.

“Lock, Stock is one of the most iconic British films,” said John. ”It set the culture for a generation of kids sort of my age who wanted to be seen as cool cockneys or mockneys, and this was not just an East End London thing, this was throughout the whole of the UK.”

James and John also discuss how the film, alongside Trainspotting, helped to revive the British film industry and that a genre of British gangster films wouldn’t have been made without Lock, Stock starting the trend.

Talk then turns to the movie itself and all three are critical of Ritchie’s over-the-top use of filmmaking techniques with Jess comparing it to something made by a student who is trying to use “every little gimmick and every little affectation”.

They also said that Guy Ritchie was guilty of making the film “ridiculously complicated” before wrapping up all the loose ends right at the end which they noted is something he has continued to do including in more recent work like The Gentleman.

There is some praise for Ritchie from John who says that he manages to tell the story of the evolution of the East End of London through the different characters in the film.

Although the plot of Lock, Stock is based on a game of three-card brag gone wrong, Jess is hesitant to describe the film as a gambling film.

She says that some of the aspects of a backroom card game such as cameras looking at what cards people have are accurate however, the premise of the gambling scene is “preposterous” given the decisions Eddie makes even though he is touted as an expert card player.

In her scathing assessment of his performance, she says that she would rather give her money to Fred Flintstone from last week’s episode than him.

To end the episode the trio decide whether the film is better than the current clubhouse leader The Flintstones and James and John compete in the weekly quiz however the twist this week is that the loser will be responsible for writing next week’s quiz.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – Cinema Reels Podcast