Review: The Gentlemen

After taking audiences to a whole new world in Aladdin, Guy Ritchie returns to his crime comedy roots with The Gentlemen – a story about crime, weed, and double crosses.

Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) has a massive grow operation and sits atop the marijuana business in England. When Mickey decides to cash out and sell his business to Matthew (Jeremy Strong), it sends ripples throughout England’s underworld.

The story is told through a sleazy tabloid photographer named Fletcher (Hugh Grant) as he tries to get £20 million from Mickey’s consigliere, Ray (Charlie Hunnam), for information he’s providing.

With Fletcher narrating the story, there’s a lot the audience doesn’t know about Mickey’s operation, the major players in the story, and if the story Fletcher is telling Ray is true. Ritchie lays it out all as the film progresses with his usual twist and by introducing characters like Coach (Colin Farrell) and Dry Eye (Henry Golding).

Guy Ritchie films are known for their great mix of action and comedy, but most notably for their quick witted dialogue. If there’s one weak spot, it’s the script not being as tight as his previous films. It’s not a bad script, but it’s missing the usual magic that makes the dialogue in his films so entertaining. His script may have some detractors. There is heavy use of the c-word. If that word offends you, The Gentlemen might not be the film for you. Maybe you can wait to watch the edited version on FX in three years.

The cast is fantastic and one of Guy Ritchie’s best. Matthew McConaughey may be the lead, but Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, and Colin Farrell are the stars. Grant steals the show as slimy unreliable narrator. He alternates from telling Ray what happened, to flirting with Ray, to ranting about films. Fletcher is hilariously unlikable – from the way he dresses to the audacity to pitch a script about the story he’s telling Ray as he’s telling it to him.

The film is a reminder that Ritchie is great filmmaker. He has an ability to transport you to a mythical world of crime and lawlessness. He takes cartoonishly over-the-top characters feel real in the world he’s created. He makes evil drug lords fascinating and the common man appear bigger than life. He gets all of his crazy characters and wild scenarios to fit together perfectly. His films are R-rated Mother Goose stories with some charm and humor mixed in.

Of course, with all the twist, you have to pay attention so you don’t get lost on this ride. There’s enough murder and crime to keep action fans satisfied. Rithcie films are always good for an accidental murder and this film has two great ones. There’s also enough humor, especially when Ray and Fletcher are insulting each other, to keep audiences laughing for a majority of the film. Seriously, I’d watch an entire movie of Ray and Fletcher hanging out for two hours. There’s even a funny nod to Season 1 of Black Mirror. Fans of the show will know the reference when they see it.

If you love Guy Ritchie films, The Gentlemen will warm your heart. It captures everything fans appreciate about his films.  It’s a return to the Guy Ritchie fans have grown to love since Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. It makes you pray for a world where he only makes these types of films.

Grade: B+