The movie reinforces my love-hate relationship to Guy Ritchie’s filmography. Before I review The Gentlemen, I’ll give you a brief background.
My thoughts on Guy Ritchie
There is a distinctive difference in style between Guy Ritchie’s filmography from the early 2000s and his directorial efforts after Sherlock Holmes. The raw, grizzly but comical look at London’s underworld in films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch is when I consider him at his best. The two Sherlocks are classics in their own right but everything else is forgettable.
That includes The Man from UNCLE, which I don’t much care for.
And Aladdin is not what anyone would call a Guy Ritchie movie.
But The Gentlemen? This is what I would call an a potent mixture of all things good and bad.
The Gentlemen – It’s right there in the middle
The Gentlemen is Guy Ritchie trying to bring the freshness of his earlier works into, lets say, a RockNRolla. It produces interesting results.
It starts off bumpy. You don’t like the needlessly complicated theatrics and melodrama as the film begins. Hugh Grant is insufferable in the early moments when you’re trying to figure out what’s what. But as it turns out – it’s all part of the plan. When the plot does begin to make sense somewhere along Act 1, Part 3, it’s enough to make you change your whole outlook on the entire finished product. You get invested in the players, and Hugh Grant goes from annoying to commanding a screen presence so enjoyable that you hold onto his every quotable line.
The Gentlemen contains a lot of quotable lines
Problem is, I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Maybe multiple re-watches and this movie’s ultimate status as a cult classic will do that way into the future?
But I’m not holding my breath.
The Gentlemen is a flawed but ultimately an entertaining gangster action piece with a plot full of twists and turns, which are revealed in the traditional Guy Ritchie fashion. All it asks is that you be patient, sit back and soak in the illustrative and enlightening dialogue from a cast of colorful characters.
Which, this being a Guy Ritchie movie, is not something they run out of. Apart from Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell as Coach plays an unlikely ally to Mathew McConaughey’s Michael ‘Mickey’ Pearson, a cannabis baron in London looking to give up his empire, which attracts all sorts of double-crossing and back-stabbing. Each character manages to leave a mark on the viewer, even McConaughey whose character, I thought at first, was too vanilla to play the protagonist in a Guy Ritchie movie.
It is not all about quirky accents. Sometimes a believable performance will sell too.
The Gentlemen – The Bad
While shedding the grittiness of an early 2000s Guy Ritchie flick, The Gentlemen manages to dazzle only up to a certain point. There seems to be incessant, and frankly unnecessary, desire to be clever with the plot, which brings in way too many twists and turns than the mind can stomach. What should have been gasps at the display of genius turns into groans. And this is what stops elevating this movie to Guy’s all time classics.
The Gentlemen – Verdict
It’s Guy Ritchie back to form. But it misses its mark a lot and robs us off of a polished product.