“There’s only one rule in the jungle: when the lion’s hungry, he eats!”
Director Guy Ritchie is back to his roots with the release of The Gentlemen. Set in London, The Gentlemen tells the story of Mickey Pearson, a former American who makes his living as a wealthy weed producer. Now, at this point in his life, Mickey wants to relinquish his successful marijuana empire to someone else. To Mickey’s distain, the vipers begin to come out, sending the drug ring into pure chaos. Especially when a private detective, Fletcher, wants to get his “share.” Filled with comedy, and more action than you could ask for, The Gentlemen makes for a solid effort, showcasing Ritchie, and his cast’s, best work in years.
The Gentlemen is pure Ritchie through and through. What he’s able to do with his writing and directing is to give us these characters that are suave, and a bit rough around the edges, while also interweaving some great comedy. Matthew McConaughey give a stellar performance as Mickey, the man who finds himself at the center of this story. He’s hostile, but debonair. Ruthless, but he also has a bit of a soft spot. McConaughey transforms into this character, but is able to adhere to his own unique personality. To round out the cast of talented individuals are Colin Farrell and Charlie Hunnam. Hunnam recently collaborated with Ritchie in 2017’s King Arthur. And while his performance in King Arthur is more than lackluster, I believe he’s made up for it with this performance in The Gentlemen. But Hunnam, who plays McConaughey’s assistant, Ray, often does the dirty work for McConaughey’s Mickey. McConaughey and Hunnam convey such a loyal friendship amongst such an entertaining group of dirt bags. There are many standouts of the film, but Hugh Grant tops the list. Grant, who plays the manipulative Fletcher, is the one “writing” the story, and believes he can cash in by turning these experiences into a screenplay. How funny is that?
As funny, and may I say, extremely creative, as Fletcher’s telling of the film is, The Gentlemen falls into a bit of a lull because of the story. It takes a while to fully understand what’s going on in the film. The Gentlemen, confident that their audience will understand, quickly piles on the story – much like skipping A or B, and going straight to C. While you try to catch up, the film proceeds with its narrative, without letting the viewer take a much needed breath. I love a story that can make you think. More importantly, a movie that doesn’t pander to its audience. But The Gentlemen becomes disorderly, and makes the film a bit of a disappointment.
But with those few bumps, The Gentlemen picks up and gets back on track with its entertainment. And that’s really all that it is: pure entertainment. Ritchie is back from what I can only call a long hiatus from his creativity. Ritchie’s talents in writing and directing, paired with an outstanding and witty cast, makes The Gentlemen a unique gangster film.
Written & Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, and Hugh Grant