The Gentlemen – Film Review

“The Gentlemen” Movie…

Under normal circumstances this film would have run its course at the cinemas in Australia and would now be available in DVD at the local supermarket. But these are not normal circumstances. Thanks to that bloody coronavirus this film never quite ran its allotted time before the dreaded “lockdown”. Now the cinemas are open again this film is getting a final few showings. Also thanks to that virus, I had the cinema to myself. Like a private showing. Yes! Perfect. So here is my private showing critique…

Basic Plot

The Gentlemen is a crime-comedy with all the usual farcical elements you would expect from a Guy Ritchie London based caper. The lead role, played by Matthew McConaughey, is a marijuana baron by the name of Mickey Pearson.

Pearson is looking to get out of the business but as always such exits never run smoothly. There are too many interested parties. One is “Big” Dave a newspaper baron who is looking for dirt on Pearson. He employs an investigative journalist named Fletcher, played by Hugh Grant to find enough detail on Pearson’s activities to finish the crime boss. Now I am not a fan of Grant but this is one of his more acceptable film roles – even if he seems to be doing an impression of Ricky Gervais (who I can only assume also screen tested for the role just prior to Grant?). But let’s get back on track…

Fletcher thinks it will be more profitable to blackmail Pearson and visits Pearson’s right hand man Raymond Smith. By telling Raymond everything he knows about Pearson and his attempts to leave the drug world Fletcher sets up the majority of the story for the viewer.  There are parties interested in buying Pearson’s drug business but only after trying to drive down its worth. There are those who want to take it over – like the Chinese gang whose leader is played by Henry Golding. Suffice to say things get very messy and there are more twists and turns than an old cork-screw.

Other Cast

Pearson’s right hand man Raymond is played by Charlie Hunnam. Now, despite successfully playing a California based Hell’s Angel in the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ series, Hunnam still managed to let his (natural) Geordie accent slip out while trying to portray a London based gangster. I couldn’t quite work out whether he was supposed to be a cockney or just trying to play an accent-less English bloke.

Add to the mix Colin Farrell, playing a character known only as “Coach” and his wayward bunch of trainee mixed martial arts fighters – who just happen to be street smart and internet savvy scally-wags. Then you have enough to be going on with. I will not be spoiling the plot for you if I say that the Coach’s kids make a couple of videos which are used on social media as part of the story.

Criticisms

There is a sub plot of a rich family’s daughter running off with some drug addicts and being hunted down to a London council estate flat which seems to be partly taken from the movie ‘Layer Cake’ (as does the use of a freezer for storing the resulting body – you will get it when you see the movie). Also part of the ending is definitely taken from that great British movie ‘The Long Good Friday’. Come on Mr. Ritchie! There are some of us old enough to know and love that movie. Do you seriously think we wouldn’t notice? Although it is not the real and complete ending. There is yet another twist.

There are the usual messages that cannabis is not really a bad drug but heroin is. Plus of course plenty of glamorised violence – although mostly for comic effect. Oh, and then there are the Russians. Aren’t there always Russians involved in these things these days? How did the crime world ever manage without them? There were already enough stereotypes in this film…

Conclusion

Aside from the above minor criticism – and it is minor – the film was very good. It is slick, funny at times and not too heavy on the violence. Just enough when it was required. The pace is classic Guy Ritchie. Just fast enough (or slow – depending on which way you see it) to keep you very interested, if not (almost) on the edge of your seat. In other words; perfectly paced.

Somehow Pearson manages to stay one step ahead of all the supposed antagonists thanks largely to his wing-man Raymond. Until the end; which by that time you kind of see it coming… Or do you?

The Old Dad highly recommends “The Gentlemen” movie.

 

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