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Like all genres the gangster genre has evolved over time. One of the main features of contemporary gangster films is the inclusion of humour. Discuss with reference to 'Snatch' and 'Pulp Fiction'.

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Lauren Finney Independent Study Like all genres the gangster genre has evolved over time. One of the main features of contemporary gangster films is the inclusion of humour. Discuss with reference to 'Snatch' and 'Pulp Fiction'. 'The Godfather' is the most revolutionary gangster film of all time, it rewrote the gangster genre in such a stylised way that all latter gangster films have conformed to this genre but also evolved it as films have progressed. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola 'The Godfather' re-invented the gangster genre elevating it to a Hollywood status and making it commercially profitable. It looks into the life of the 'Corleone' family and represents America at that point in time. It portrays the violence and power, corruption and justice, honour and obligation apparent at that time. Previous to 'The Godfather's' release the 'American Dream' was born, to idealists America was the country of opportunity, you found your destiny here and you were successful and prosperous. The streets were thought to be paved with gold. As this dream became ever increasingly harder to achieve people looked to alternative ways to reach it. When 'The Godfather' was aired it portrayed how to reach the 'American Dream' illegally. The government became increasingly worried and so in the film the gangster's must get their 'come-uppance' it could not be seen for the gangster's to be prosperous, they must have their fall. 'The Godfather' was made in 1972 and at that point President Nixon was re-elected after defeating George Mc Govern. At this time the Black September group hijacked a Lufthansa Boeing 727 as it flew over Turkey and demanded the release of three colleagues still held for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games. All of this violence and especially corruption influenced 'The Godfather', throughout the film we see corruption of the justice system and of families and friends. Since 'The Godfather', gangster films have subverted to the genre that the film created and you can see aspects of this even in modern day representations of the 'Gangster's life'. ...read more.


We see blood and brain matter explode all over Vincent's face, the rear and front windows and Jules. The unbelievable violence portrayed shocks the audience, but before they have a chance to react Jules goes mad at Vincent but Vincent just says it was an accident and they must have gone over a bump or something. The juxtaposition of talking about God and 'Divine Intervention' contrasted with the extreme violence of having your head blown apart begins to appear funny. The way Vincent has been reduced to a naughty boy and Jules is the enraged parent creates a scene completely unexpected but uproariously hilarious. The pure look of shock on Vincent's face after it happened and the incomprehension on Jules makes the audience laugh even more and as Jules begins to take charge, realising they can't drive along a main road with blood all over the windows, Vincent is rendered a sulking teenager. The audience's ability to read the scene allows the humour to be as funny as it is. This is due to how the genre has evolved, audiences are now able to read messages that the media sends out to them, they can appreciate NVC (non-verbal communication), the looks between characters. Because of stereotypes and codes and conventions the audience understands what a dark alley signifies, or what a man in a dark suit and hat implies. The encoding and decoding theory supports this. Previously, in the time of 'The Godfather' the hypodermic syringe theory was more popular, the audience would all react the same way, things had to be more obvious as stereotypes were not well established. The audience then was unable to read the media as we are able to now in the present day. The conclusion to this scene involves Tarantino himself, Jules and Vincent drive to Jimmy's house (Jules' partner - Tarantino) to clean up the car and get rid of the body. Vincent and Jules are reduced to incompetent little boys who don't know what to do. ...read more.


and a big F-you to the general audience. How many people were tricked into seeing Snatch thinking it was a Brad Pitt vehicle? I guess we'll know after seeing the opening weekend numbers. The story builds on a series of coincidences and happenings until all the characters' lives intersect in wild and crazy ways. I know "these strange things happen all the time," but by the end it stretches one's credulity to the very limit. But that isn't really the point. We're supposed to bask in the cleverness of the direction and the cleverness of the scr1pt...the cleverness of the whole darn thing. The movie is an orgiastic display of flashy cinematic devices meant to excite us; 3 second flashes of Benicio Del Toro's character's obsession with gambling and the quick zoom into a close-up of a gun reading "Desert Eagle .50" elicited squeals of delight and applause from a section of the audience I was in. We also revel in the oh-so-witty characters who spout off Seinfeld-like (see? Not Pulp Fictionesque) diatribes about things like how milk goes against the evolutionary process of humans. It seems as if the story was created with Ritchie and a bunch of his buddies sitting around, each one elaborating on the story while being fairly inebriated. It just builds and builds and builds until it hits the 1 hour 30 minute mark and some punch-lines need to be supplied. What we are left with is a mishmash film in which substance takes a backseat to style. All we take with us from the movie is memories of cool split-screen shots and beautiful freeze frames but we can't outline the story if our lives depended on it. And hell if we're not fine with that. I mean "Here is Snatch...and Why Not?" Coming out of Snatch, we are jazzed and ready to get into some bareknuckled fights. It has provided a not wholly unpleasant 2 hours of enjoyment. Make no mistake, Snatch is an empty experience. But, to quote the Wood-man, as far as empty experiences go, it's one of the best. ...read more.

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