Guy Ritchie returns with style in The Gentlemen – movie review

By Tribute on January 23, 2020 | 1 Comment

The Gentlemen movie posterAfter filming a string of Hollywood blockbusters and tentpoles to mixed success, writer and director Guy Ritchie went back to his roots with his latest project, The Gentlemen.

In the film we are introduced to American expat turned dope dealer Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) looking to meet up with his wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery) before he is ambushed by an unknown assassin. We then cut to his right-hand man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam), who returns home to a surprise visit from private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who is looking to make a deal that benefits him, Raymond, and Mickey.

Looking for a huge payout, Fletcher lays out all the potentially damaging information he has on Mickey that could disrupt and ruin his plans to sell his marijuana enterprise to rival billionaire Matthew (Jeremy Strong). As this all unfolds, young upstart Dry Eye (Henry Golding) attempts to join in the fray, looking to improve his standing and get out from under the thumb of his boss, Lord George.

If there is one consistent quality to Guy Ritchie’s career as a filmmaker it’s that all of his movies, good and bad, bring a distinctive style to the big screen. From his feature debut with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels to his breakout hit Snatch to his Hollywood blockbusters in the Sherlock Holmes films and last year’s Aladdin, Ritchie has carved out a niche and built his audience for better or worse over the years.

Those familiar with his work shouldn’t be all too surprised with what his latest feature, The Gentlemen, has to offer. A jumpy narrative, witty dialogue, and a smarmy cast of charismatic characters are this film’s main selling points, with Ritchie being one of the few directors able to pull it all together.

The stellar ensemble cast is led by Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey and features a bevy of talent, including Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery, Crazy Rich Asians‘ Henry Golding, The Big Short‘s Jeremy Strong, and In Bruges‘ Colin Farrell as well as some familiar faces to Ritchie in Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, and Eddie Marsan who he has worked with in past projects such as King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes films respectively. It’s a talented cast for sure, but it is Ritchie’s ability to leverage their strengths when needed, while also affording opportunities for them to step outside of what they’re familiar with, that makes the performances entertaining.

That said, with an ensemble piece like this there’s always going to be a bit of a letdown in trying to balance out everyone’s screen time — a couple of the actors end up feeling a little underutilized. Sadly, despite being pretty great in their roles, both Michelle Dockery and Henry Golding feel as if they aren’t used to their full potential in this film. Dockery for her part plays quite a good version of a gangster’s wife, being both McConaughey’s closest confidant and an interesting character in her own right. As for Golding, his Dry Eye may be your typically arrogant young gangster, but he brings a cartoonish and immature charm to his character.

They all come together in this tale of subterfuge and boiling gang wars that may be a bit confusing at first, but that’s only because of Ritchie’s penchant for jumpy narratives. Nothing is ever really straightforward with Ritchie, particularly when it’s a project that he writes, but for The Gentlemen, it’s more apparent thanks to how it’s structured, with cuts back and forth between Hugh Grant’s present-time conversation with Charlie Hunnam and the events he narrates. It’s stylish and a great way to bring out Grant’s devilish delivery of his dialogue, but it’s understandable that some may find it tiring as a narrative device and feel that it’s overdone.

As it is though, The Gentlemen is an enjoyable piece of cinema for the start of the year. Although the month of January is typically seen as a dumping ground for a number of lesser films, The Gentlemen is far from being a toss away movie. Even though Guy Ritchie doesn’t reinvent the wheel with this film and it lacks any true freshness, it totally plays into his strengths as a filmmaker and makes for an entertaining and stylish two hours in the theater. ~Paolo Maquiraya

Comments & Discussion

  1. Barbara Muszik • January 30, 2020 @ 5:01 PM

    I love Guy Ritchie’s films and this should be another good one!!! I can’t wait to see it!!

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