There was a short period of time where Guy Ritchie could not catch a break with his films—turning out several duds in a row. However, I contend that between last year’s Aladdin and now The Gentlemen, Guy Ritchie is making his triumphant return. The Gentlemen has all the great qualities of Guy Ritchie films Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000) while delivering some fresh, enthralling storytelling that is unique to Guy Ritchie’s storytelling. That said, if you are not a fan of Snatch, you will most likely not enjoy this new entry in the Ritchie catalogue.
The Gentlemen is about a marijuana empire in London, run by Matthew McConaughey’s Mickey Pearson, and the competing forces that are trying to take the empire out from under him. The large majority of the film is told through flashbacks from the eyes of Hugh Grant’s Fletcher—a reporter for a smearing celebrity-gossip magazine who has been tasked with finding information to bring down Mickey Pearson, but instead is looking to sell what he knows to the people that he was hired to investigate for a larger sum.
While the script itself really lends itself to a good film, it is the cast that sells it. Charlie Hunnam and Hugh Grant are the heartbeat of this film—every time the story breaks back into the present, their banter is amazing and the acting from both really keep you engaged despite the break from the action. The performance of Hunnam and Grant also really sell the ominous threat that is Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey brings it. Whenever he is on screen, he owns it as he brings a sense of gravitas to a character that is absolutely brutal. All of this said, the real standout in this film is Coach, played by Colin Farrell. Colin Farrell has slowly become one of the greatest actors working in Hollywood right now. In the midst of all the outrageousness that is the situations the other characters are in, Farrell manages to bring a human element to this world of drug lords and really cements the viewer in the world the film sets up.
Overall, The Gentlemen is a fantastic romp that unfortunately will fly under most people’s radars. The acting, script, and overall direction all mix in a satisfying way that leaves the audience ready for the rest of cinema that 2020 holds. In a month that is normally where films go to die, The Gentlemen kicks off the year on a high note.
The Gentlemen is rated R for violence, language throughout, sexual references and drug content.