Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Jeremy Strong, Henry Golding
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who missed the old Guy Ritchie and his verbose, iconic gangsters, The Gentlemen will go down better than a pint and a pickled egg.
Guy Ritchie’s cinematic output has, to put it politely, varied in quality over the years. After the grimy, crimey one-two punch of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000), Guy seemed to go off the boil. And look, Revolver (2005) and RocknRolla (2008) both have their charms, but it’s hard to imagine anyone vociferously defending the likes of Swept Away (2002) or King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017). So, it looked like Guy would probably go on crafting decent-but-unchallenging flicks like Sherlock Holmes (2009), Aladdin (2019) and the bizarrely overlooked, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015). And then the flash geezer only goes and releases The Gentlemen, which is far and away his best film in years!
The Gentlemen, like Ritchie’s best films Lock, Stock and Snatch, is a wild and woolly crime caper, showcasing multiple distinct characters and points of view. This time around our main players are American expat weed dealer extraordinaire, Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), his debonair but tough second in command, Raymond (Charlie Hunnam), slimy muckraker, Fletcher (Hugh Grant) and bad arse Irish mentor to troubled boys, Coach (Colin Farrell). The story is revealed through multiple sweary, unreliable narrators and twists and turns with Ritchie’s much-missed cheerful alacrity. And though the story perhaps doesn’t quite know when to quit, the sheer charm of the performances will almost certainly carry all but the most cheerless audience members through.
Matthew McConaughey brings a slick, polished energy to the proceedings, Charlie Hunnam proves that, given the right material he’s actually a really solid actor with great comic timing and Hugh Grant beautifully plays against type, offering a level of malevolent sleaziness that is at times jaw droppingly foul and profoundly entertaining. The supporting actors are uniformly superb as well, with Michelle Dockery bringing a cocky dominatrix vibe to Rosalind, Mickey’s wife, and Henry Golding does tooth-gnashing menace with panache as ‘orrible nemesis Dry Eye.
Ritchie is clearly in his element here, and has a hoot unleashing his best crime caper since Snatch. The characters are grand, the setting is vivid, the action is meaty and the dialogue will probably cause a lot of people to unleash earnest think pieces that contain four or five hundred uses of the word “problematic”. It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who missed the old Guy Ritchie and his verbose, iconic gangsters, The Gentlemen will go down better than a pint and a pickled egg.