From writer-director Guy Ritchie comes THE GENTLEMEN, a star-studded, sophisticated action comedy. The story follows American expat Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), who has built a highly profitable marijuana empire in London. When the word gets out that he’s looking to cash out of the business, a host of colorful, if entirely illegitimate figures scheme, bribe and blackmail their way to try and steal Mickey’s domain out from under him.
What We Thought:
The Gentlemen is a return to Guy Ritchie’s gangster roots. After more mainstream films like the live-action Aladdin and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, his latest film is grittier with a lot more C-bombs! The director first garnered attention with movies like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch and this film has more of their vibe than his recent films.
Overall I enjoyed the movie, but it does have some issues. Read the synopsis up top and you’ll get the gist of the story. What isn’t mentioned is that Hugh Grant is sort of the narrator of the film. He’s a reporter who goes to Charlie Hunnam to blackmail his boss into paying for his information. So the story of the film is told through Grant’s information. It opens with Matthew McConaughey walking into a bar, then flashbacks through Grant’s storytelling. It eventually surpasses his information when it’s getting towards the end. I’m not sure if doing it this way was necessary, but I guess it does work. Some people might have a hard time following along, but it’s not that complicated.
My biggest issue, and I’m not sure if it’s because of the layering storytelling, is that the movie feels a lot longer than what it is. It’s just under 2 hours long, but it felt more like 2.5 hours. It’s a bit slow at times and there’s a couple of scenes that just didn’t work for me. One of McConaughey’s weed growing centers gets robbed. It’s shot like a fight porn video with young wannabe gangsters with nicknames and video equipment and it seemed so out of place for the tone of the rest of the movie. The youngsters serve a point in the story and come into play again, but something about that entire situation felt wrong for the film. These characters are necessary because of who they are involved with and what they did becomes part of the story so you can’t cut this scene, but I wish it was done differently. Ritchie is known for faster pacing and quick cuts so one of his movies feeling slow is weird to me.
But with the fantastic cast, some really laugh out loud humor and Ritchie’s strong use of music, The Gentlemen is more positive than negative. It’s something I can see myself watching again and it made me want to revisit the underrated The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Hunnam can be hit or miss (mostly miss) for me, but he’s pretty solid here. Colin Farrell is always one of my favorites and I loved the change in Hugh Grant. Usually he’s the suave leading man and he’s the conniving reporter here. If you like your Guy Ritchie more RocknRolla than Sherlock Holmes then this film is…
Directed/Written by: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant
Running Time: 113 mins