Movie review: The Gentlemen

14 Feb 2020 / 10:32 H.

OPENING with the abrupt murder of drug lord Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), The Gentlemen kicks off the way director Guy Ritchie’s gangster films often do – in the thick of the action.

As with films that begin in media res, The Gentlemen proceeds to focus on catching the audience up to what led to Pearson’s supposed death, told through flashbacks that are filled in by conversations between sleazy private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) and Pearson’s right-hand man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam).

Leaning heavily into its testosterone-heavy cast, while not missing a beat in playing every one of its actors off each other, and utilising their respective charisma and comedic timing, the film weaves an intricate web of stories leading back to Pearson, a drug lord intent on selling off his lucrative cannabis farms and retiring from the business.

This announcement drags everyone from Asian gangsters to Jewish-American drug magnate-hopefuls into the chaos, which soon spirals outward.

Though the cast shines overall, there are some whose talents we definitely would have liked to have seen more of, such as Hunnam’s Raymond and Colin Farrell’s Coach, who sadly share relatively little screen time together.

Like all of Ritchie’s films, The Gentlemen features the director’s signature fast cutting-style of storytelling that is carried by a star-studded cast.

Certain creative and musical choices are stylised for the modern filmgoer, making one fight scene resemble a rap music video.

Unlike the director’s previous two films, the abysmal Aladdin (2019) and clunky Zack Snyder-esque King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017), Ritchie returns to the writing employed in older films such as Snatch (2000) and RocknRolla (2008).

As such, the profanity-laden dark humour of The Gentlemen is best appreciated by those familiar with the stylings of British action comedies, particularly that of the crime and gangster subgenre.

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