Jacob Richardson | 20/12/2019
A stacked ensemble and a barrel of laughs makes this more tame Guy Ritchie picture a whole lotta fun.
Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is an American-born but British-based drug lord, whose weed empire is the finest in Britain. Along with his right hand man Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) and his wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery), they are trying to sell of their empire to Oklahoma billionaire Cannabis Kingpin Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong). Alas, what originally seems a weak attempt at a counterbid by Dry Eye (Henry Golding) turns into a raid on one of Mickey’s locations, and only Hugh Grant’s self-obsessed reporter Fletcher has the information to stop the rapid drop in the sale price of Mickey’s business.
The Gentlemen feels both unashamedly Guy Ritchie, and also wildly less frenetic than his typical fare. Here, Ritchie backs off the gas a little bit, and allows himself to relax into what comes across as a relatively ambling pace. That feels natural for this cast of characters, who are all so cool, calm and collected - even in the face of having to chop off a pound of their own flesh in a commercial freezer - that any haste in the pacing might feel misplaced.
Ritchie has assembled a cast truly worthy of such an ensemble piece, and everybody gets their moment to shine. Colin Farrell as the Coach looking to make amends for his ragtag crew of fighters is great, and McConaughey chews the scenery like no-ones business. Golding is fun, and continues to cement his status as a bonafide movie star, while the two hander that dominates much of the exposition of the film between Hunnam’s Raymond and Grant’s Fletcher is beautifully staged and anchored by two wildly opposite performances. Hunnam plays Raymond as a consistently calm, but subversively dangerous, hit man, while Grant plays Fletcher as a camp, conniving snake of a man, whose scheming seems from the off bound to come to naught.
The Gentlemen is also shot beautifully, and bedecked in a resplendency of beautiful costuming. Ritchie also brings the violence where necessary, but the goriest bits are the implied violence. There is undoubtedly blood in this movie, but it isn’t gratuitous. By only implying or describing the worst bits, Ritchie has his cake and eats it too.
The Gentlemen is a helluva lot of fun. Despite its assured pace, you’ll find the time flies and you’ll be longing to spend more time with these characters.