Guy Ritchie has spent the last few years making mediocre big blockbuster such as King Arthur or Aladdin. Far has the man gone from the days of gritty quipping London gangsters and now his overtly shiny movies that tackle some past lore or adaptation have been panned or largely ignored.
The Gentlemen, however, isn’t exactly the return the form we had wanted.
The Gentlemen sees Hugh Grant as slimy journalist Fletcher who sneaks into the home of Charlie Hunnam’s Raymond to recant the tale of the latter’s boss Mickey Pearson. Played by Matthew McConoughey, Mickey is the king of London’s weed business but is thinking about retiring from the game. Soon fractions of the criminal underbelly are conniving to get their hands on Mickey’s empire and they’ll come up with nefarious schemes to do so. But what will happen to Mickey in the process?
Ritchie’s The Gentlemen is ridiculous, absurd, but still pretty enjoyable. From uncouth jokes to massive shootouts, The Gentlemen is a journey that will cause you to snort and smile. Highlights here include Grant’s cockney Fletcher. Grant is clearly having the best time no longer playing a shy English fop. Charlie Hunnam levels up from boring to mildly interesting, and McConoughey’s having fun as the top in the entire affair. It’s lavish and slick, bouncing along with entertainment. There are some Ritche flares here, s
The biggest problem The Gentlemen has is that it’s jokes are wildly racist, homophobic, and more, causing you to shuffle awkwardly in your seat. At one point Grant’s Fletcher calls Henry Golding’s Dry Eye a host of Asian names culminating in a racist 007 crack at him. If a film has characters who are wield racist terms, then the film also has to show that they are wrong and awful. For example, in Jon S. Baird’s Filth, the lead character Bruce Robertson is all of the above and then some. But every time venom leaves his lips, you are appalled and disgusted. It is shown that Bruce is the worst.
This isn’t necessarily the case in Ritchie’s movie. It’s clear he makes no effort condem, instead wag a finger at his “cheeky chaps” who are built from stereotypes and better movies.. It makes you feel queasy even calling the film fun and knowing that at points you may have laughed a loud.
If you put that all aside, with whatever excuse, The Gentlemen is a bombastic and entertaining gangster piece that doesn’t quite pull the same punches as Ritchie’s original work such as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch. Held somewhat wonkily together by Grant’s against-type rogue journalist, The Gentlemen is an average flick with little taste that inexplicably against your better judgement will make you laugh.
Sometimes it’s best to stick to your better judgement. After all, as Michelle Dockerty’s “Sarf Landan” accented Gangster Wife Rosalind says (very gloriously I might add), “there’s fuckery afoot.”
And The Gentlemen may be the biggest fuckery of them all.
The Gentlemen is out on Digital, DVD, and Blu-Ray now!