Filmmaker Guy Ritchie had had some hits and misses lately with his King Arthur disaster and the lkewarm critical response to his Aladdin live action remake. It would seem the third time is the charm as Ritchie harks back to his films of old with a gangster film with some HUGE names including Matthew McCongahey, Charlie Hunam, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant and Michelle Dockery. The film has some incredible action sequences and a humorous and clever script that combine with the oustanding performances from the entire cast delivering a solid start to 2020 movies.
The story revolves around Mickey Pearson (McConaughey) an entrepernuer who has built a marijuana global business. Wanting to spend more time with his wife, Pearson wants to retire and sell his business to Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong). When news of this sale gets out other interested parties attempt to take down his business including Dry Eye (Henry Golding) and an intrepid and incredibly camp reporter Fletcher (Hugh Grant). Fletcher plays a huge part of the story as an aspiring screenwriter who is working Mickey’s muscle man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam).
The action scenes are fast paced and hit hard and fast with sharp and razor style Ritchie editing. The dialogue is crude and harsh as the cuts dare you to keep up with its rapid pace. It has all the makings of what Ritchie a fantastic filmmaker and when returns to his roots, knows exactly what he is doing. Ritchie tackles another strong topic of class culture as a group of young chavs are recruited into a gym and a life of crime by way of association. Farrell plays the gym boss who reluctantly is dragged into the conflict but feels necessary to get involved. As the boys on the lower income end fight to protect the men on the high income rollers, a clear parallel is drawn as Grant’s character tells the recap and guides the narrative through.
Speaking of Grant, he is the MVP in this, he brings an unwavering amount of confidence as he believes he has everything he needs to make some serious money and retire to enjoy a privileged life. Fletcher is camp and his obvious flirtation scenes with Raymond are hilarious and add some great relief from some of the high tension between them as the narrative unfolds. Hunnam and Grant play off each other well, their back and forth carries the film and as Raymond gets more dangerous, Fletcher gets more camp.
The Gentlemen is a pleasant surprise, giving Ritchie a return to action and humour combined with outstanding performances from all of the cast involved, any scene with Fletcher is automatically elevated. The story may be nothing terribly original, but it is entertaining and the editing is sharp, harking back to Ritchie’s filmmaking roots.
The Gentlemen is now showing.