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The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen

Movie
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Jan 24, 2020
Grade:
B
Running Time: 
113 minutes

It’s been over a decade since Guy Richie directed a proper gangster movie, instead opting for big blockster franchises like Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, and Aladdin in recent years. While he’s been able to give audiences thrills like The Man From U.N.C.L.E., his most recent ventures have struggled to capture his signature snappy and quick-witted style. The Gentlemen is Richie’s return to his roots and marks a welcomed return to form as well. It may not be on the same level as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch, but it’s the most entertaining film he’s done in years. 

 

Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) built a marijuana empire in the United Kingdom and is one of the most respected “businessmen” in local crime circles. Despite being the best at what he does, Mickey wants out and decides to sell his assets for $400 million to billionaire Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong). Just as the deal is about to close, however, one of Mickey’s stash houses is robbed, which triggers a series of events where Mickey attempts to figure out who is behind it all while trying to stay alive himself. Leaving the drug business is never a simple matter.

 

The majority of the film is told through a conversation between tabloid journalist Fletcher (Hugh Grant) and Mickey’s right hand man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam). Fletcher is recounting the events of the film to Raymond, telling him that he knows everything that went down and that if he doesn’t pay up $20 million it’s all going to be in the papers. The Gentlemen is extremely dense and dialogue heavy in the beginning, so it takes a handful of beats to get invested in the story as all the players are introduced as well as their motivations. Ritchie just jumps into the thick of it right from the start and you’re left putting together all the pieces on your own. Honestly, I was confused for a while as I was trying to wrap my head around everything that was going on.

 

Thankfully it doesn’t last for too long, and from then on you’re taken for a wild ride full of intimidating confrontations, brutal butcherings, and satisfying double crosses, all of course with Ritchie’s signature style of humor peppered throughout. It’s nothing audiences haven’t seen before, either in the genre or with Ritchie, but there’s just enough variation to keep you entertained and engaged until the end. 

 

That’s mostly due to the fantastic ensemble cast. Hugh Grant is the stand out star of the film with his cocky attitude and the fact that he thinks he’s always one step ahead of everyone else. I’ve always been a fan of Charlie Hunnam’s work, and he once again delivers a subtle but strong performance. Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, and Michelle Dockery may have smaller roles, but they all deliver on some big scenes. 

 

Like a good stiff drink, The Gentleman has an initial bite but stick with it and you’ll be treated to a smooth finish. The story is a little rough around the edges, but it’s the characters that draw you into its world. After the disappointment that was Aladdin, it’s nice to see the beginnings of Guy Ritchie’s return to form with the genre that started his career.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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