According to the theorist Mary Wood (2007) The film reflects the moment of ‘new laddism’, representing an aggressive reaction to feminism. The four main characters of the film do not kill anyone; they are only interested in getting the money to pay off their enormous debt. The film's delight in gangland slang and its sharp eye for fashion and London locations made it an unexpected box-office success. I think Guy Ritchie was trying to portray a message about masculinity. He said at the time "Men should be more powerful than this" 'Loaded' and 'FHM' also shared his views and they were powerful and popular magazines for men at the time, who's goals were to 'preoccupy representations of a time and a setting in which the rules of male association were clear'-(Chinball, Steve, Travels in Ladland: The British Gangster Film Cycle 1998-2001).
Most people think that ‘Lock Stock’ was showing male identity in Britain at the time and trying to turn men to be more like the 'gangsters' in the film and at the time of the film was made. A writer for the 'Sunday Times' in 2000, complained that the film was 'sexist' and fascist' and thought the film had an affect on violent crime in Britain. After this comment was made it was thought at the time that Guy Ritchie had 'Polluted the British Film Industry' and made a new stereotype of men in Britain.
Violence is one of the main themes shown in the film, although we see it happening but we don't see the consequences. The film is a form of 'gangster light' as the violence in the film is seen as comical. The film makes violence acceptable and humorous. Gangster light is an exaggeration of real life for entertainment; faux-ness is also included in the film as it’s even better than the real thing and exciting. The film reflects the men in the film as people who want to be free to be laddish and masculine, asserting their importance through violence and style. Editing also contributes to us thinking its gangster light as we don’t get to see the gory scenes; we’ve just known they have happened, we don’t see the consequences of the violence and fighting. Most critics are worried that comic portrayal of violence with consequences will influence male behaviour and encourage 'laddish' behaviour and violence.
Laura Mulvey's theory of the ‘male gaze’ (1950s-60s) can also be applied to the film, as Mulvey believed that cinema was set up for a male audience so men feature as active protaginists while women have passive roles. She believes that cinema has a role in re-enforcing the ideology of a patriachal society, where men are dominant. In the film the males are the protagonists of the story. There are 3 women in the film, one is just to look at as she is a stripper in the background of a scene. This proves that this film was made for male audiences. The women in the film are used mainly as objects and for men to look at. One of the women in the film does not say one word at any point in the film, she is just for show. But at one point in the film she shows a violent and powerful side to her as she saves one of the gangs from being killed, and ends up having to use a powerful rifle, still her actions in the film are used for comic effect and she is punched in the face by one of the males without a second thought, as if he is swatting a fly.
Adorno and Fiske's theories of media power can also be used in the discussion of the power the film might have over the formation of male idenity. In the film ‘lock stock’ all men are shown as being violent and criminal like. As this behaviour is shown in the film Adorno would argue that boys watching this film would be influenced and drawn to this behavior as they would want power and money and to be like the men in the film, and that this film would have damaging consequence to the public. He would argue that the film would have an effect on how men behave without them even realising it. Fiske would argue that everyone would have their own opinion of the film and would react different ways after seeing this film, not necessarily the way that the men act in the film. He might also argue that it was the media and public interest in gangsters from the 60s at the time, that influenced the film makers, not the other way around.The Kray bothers relate to Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as they are the stereotypical 'gangster lad' that we see in the film, always up to something that will eventually involve everyone, in a bad way! This links to how male identity was portrayed in the 1990s as it is a real life situation that eventually ended in 2000.I think thatby this film, not everyone would react and copy behavior like that. There has been a change since although there would be a strong influence made to young boys the 1990s as there aren’t as many thugs like that out there and the views of how ‘masculinity’ and how men should act have changed dramatically, many people prefer men to be soft and loving not everyone wants a hard powerful and thuggish man.
Identity is shown in the film by 'Nature vs Nurture'. A character in the film known as Big Chris, played by Vinnie Jones; who was known at the time as a hard, strong and powerful person, has a son called Little Chris. The way that big Chris brings little Chris up is through ’nurture’. Big Chris wants to show how little Chris should behave as a man, teaching him how to be hard and powerful. As you don’t see any of the violence that occurs in the film we don’t think the situation is bad or it’s a bad influence to show how kid boys should behave. By adding humour with violence Guy Ritchie’s film was a success. x Misunderstood the concept here - you would use this debate to discuss whether the media can have any effect on male identity, alongside a discussion on media effects (Gauntlett). You need to re-write this paragraph.
To conclude this essay, I think that ‘lock stock’ was a film used to show how male identity was portrayed in the 1990s, and not just made as a random film at the time which had no message. I think that it was to show how Guy Ritchie thought men should act at the time and how he thought every man should be looked at, powerful, thuggish and hard. However, even if this was Ritchie's preferred reading of the film, there is no evidence to confirm that that all audiences read the film in this way.