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While the butterfly effect is not the main focus of is an experimental film showing the very different consequences of seemingly minor variances in action.
These yearnings have been successfully fulfilled in three recent, highly innovative, yet dramatically different films.
"Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" revels in chaos and coincidence, "Run Lola Run" is troubled by them, while "Three Colors: Red" is a meditation upon them. ) turn out to be an auditory and visual delight, although in vastly different ways.
Perhaps someone ought to remind Guy Ritchie not to mix business with pleasure -- at least, when the pleasure involves being married to a superstar-singer who can't act.
"Lock, Stock...", though, is a fortuitous coming together of hard-edged, but delightfully urbane and witty dialogue (with liberal doses of Cockney slang), a story filled to the brim with wildly quirky, one-of-a-kind characters, and a convoluted plot in which the various threads criss-cross themselves at such dizzying speed that it feels like a major miracle when the dust settles and the complications dissolve in a logical resolution.
Ironically, the outcome of this game of chance is the one vagary of fate in the entire movie for which Lady Luck is least to blame!
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To give away the rest of the story would be to spoil the fun.
So, what distinguishes "Lock, Stock.." from the mediocre ranks of the coincidence-as-crutch movies?
The distinction lies both in the film's intent and in its execution. There are chance occurrences aplenty, but not one of them has predictable consequences; as a result, not only are we kept on our toes in anticipation of what happens next, but we also begin to realize that the coincidences are not the filmmakers' tool to manipulate the story, but a serious obstacle to their engineering of a predetermined conclusion.
There isn't a single moment where a character indulges in stupidity in the service of plot complications --- no gloating villains who inexplicably fail to gun down the brave hero at the earliest opportunity.
When characters find their fortunes swaying, the fault lies not in themselves but in their stars, thus leaving intact the internal plot logic and making the plot's use of such vicissitudes of fortune far more acceptable than would otherwise have been the case.