What does the film 'Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' (Ritchie, 1998) tell us about male identity in Britain, in the 1990s?
The film lock stock and two smoking barrels, comes across as a male dominated film which represents the characters as thugs and criminals. The film could be interpreted as a representation of culture in London in the 1990s however, it’s debatable whether the gangster lifestyle of Ritchie’s world is a true representation or whether it is looking back at a time when men were more sure of their role in the society. This is what many film critics argue that the film represents, a backlash against feminism and attempt to redefine male identity.
After reading a review on lock stock, which was published on January 23 2010, this was published 10 years after the film, so it gives time to see if it changed any political views or whether it changed violence around England at the time. Carley Tauchert who wrote this review mentions it didn’t create a big change in London’s violence around the time as to be fair it wasn’t that gory or eye catching. After reading this review it made me realize how much more gangster light this movie generally is. Carely also mentioned she isn’t a great fan of Guy Ritchie but admits she could watch the film Lock Stock over and over again as it reminded her of what it was like in the late 60’s early 70’s, so does this mean that London Britain has become a better place since the movie was released. Have men become more feminine after the movie? You could say yes, as many more movies came out such as swept away which is a comedy, romance which doesn’t involve any masculinity. This is also another one of Guy Ritchie’s movies.
When Lock Stock Two Smoking Barrels was released on the 28th August it hit Britain as a success being displayed at the Edinburgh film festival. Once reading many reviews none of the people who wrote anything to represent any violence that was linked to this film. One thing I did pick up in most reviews is they all finished on the same ending by using the quote ‘its been emotional’. Superb way of showing sarcasm in a serious matter. You could also say it is the only emasculated line throughout the whole film said by any character, even the women didn’t use feminine language if anything they were as masculine as the protagonists.
This brings me onto the male gaze. The women in the film are partly there to look at but also an extra character just there for the sake of it. For instance when Vinnie is talking to the camera, there is a lady in the background pole dancing, she has no top on, this is all for the male audience in the audience as its something that’s eye catching towards men, not so much women unless there lesbian. Overall this film is aimed at a male audience as it is about masculinity, its pretty much stating that men should all be more manly and if you’re not then man up. a lot of films around this era have the same moral such as fight club. Its like a father being pleased with their son for kicking a football, not doing bale. It’s not a manly thing to do as there showing that there emasculated.
Guy Ritchie has been blamed by more than one person for the pollution of the British film industry. Lock Stock the movie was an unexpected success seemed to of been said by many critics. Reason why I believe everyone assumed this movie would be a flop is because, the gangster cycle started at the beginning of 1996, it was one of the main film genre’s as from April 2007 through to 2001, there was at least twenty four British films released. Reason why the last statement is amazing because it had released more of then type of movies within four years, that over the last twenty years of British film industry. It wasn’t the gangster genre that was on the block, it was crime-comedy genre, so murder movies but as you didn’t see the gory parts, it made the whole situation ok.
This bring me onto Adorno, he believed everything was repeated over and over again, which I also believe is true, for instance axes of awesome are a comedy group who done a show and played the same four chords over and over again singing at least 100 songs to the four same chords. Although its not an identical theory to film but from 1997 to 2001 the crime comedy films were being repeated as gangster movies surely that can only be about gangsters? Or is was it as in Lock Stock it wasn’t just about Gangster’s it was about money not reputation.
Does this film affect male identity? Well that’s up for debate as people are entitle to their own opinion. Personally I think it made a slight affect as after the four years crime-comedy, I found out from my research that there were more comedy romances, and action films after them four years of gangster light and dark movies.
Violence from this film does influence male behavior as you look at football firms, they might and probably have looked at this movie and thought this could be a way to earn money, as well as people that don’t earn as much money as people who work in cities. But the whole football firm has got a lot worse recently as there have been films such as Green Street and the firm who have pretty much tried getting crime comedy genre back into its element which is to make the men of today era more masculine. But why has it created made violence go up more? One answer being as you don’t see no one getting arrested in the film they think its alright to do it, in fact you don’t see one police officer, all you see is a traffic warden which was the last thing on their mind.
This brings me onto the Adorno and Fiske argument. Adrono would have believed that during 1997-2001 the film industry were pulling the wool over peoples eyes but remaking the same film pretty much but just with different actors, and different location. Whereas Fiske would argue that the film industry were trying to reflect, how males in the UK were feeling at this time, as in Fiske’s books, it’s the people who influence popular culture. What one do I believe in? I believe in Adorno’s argument as when I backed up my reaearch there wasn’t any violence going on in this so called gangster way.
in Conclusion I believe the film lock stock two smoking gun barrels comes across as a male dominated film, in certain ways showing ways of how London was in that era. Overall this is when I believe film started to change, as four years after were last four years of pretty much masculine films and from then onwards we’ve has mixed genre’s. But overall a smashing masculine film. But not emotional in my eyes.