We saw Ritchie’s The Gentlemen on opening day (January 1st). We went into this:
- Being Guy Ritchie fans, and
- Wanting something clever, funny, and with just right right amount of action.
We weren’t disappointed.
Our first hint of being in for something special was the ticket attendant who asked in very sombre tones if we knew this was an R-rated movie. We thought she was being witty but after seeing the movie I think she was doing more sensitive audience-goers a solid.
It’s clear Ritchie needed a palate cleanser after Disney’s Aladdin – a fun enough movie but without enough room for him to really swing a sword. I prefer Ritchie doing what he does best – clever, fast movies that push at least one boundary each time (my favourites are King Arthur and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., now joined by The Gentlemen). In this case it’s the boundary of swearing – conservatives need not apply. That doesn’t mean it’s in poor taste; we sat behind a group of octogenarians who laughed harder than we did.
The story opens with Hugh Grant’s Fletcher extorting Charlie Hunnam’s Raymond for 20 million pounds. Or, Ray’s boss Mickey, played in excellent form by Matthew McConaughey. Clever use of flashbacks show a story of blackmail, double-crosses, and downright thuggery all told with British flair and charm. It harkens back to earlier works like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels with dialogue so sharp you can’t help but pay attention. In typical Ritchie style the people who deserve to get theirs definitely do, but I couldn’t see how all the threads came together until the reveal. It’s a movie you’ll add to your annual re-watch schedule just to see it all unfold again.
Familiar faces from Ritchie’s previous movies abound along with the new. Grant’s rendition of Fletcher shows an actor at the top of his game, and totally different to other roles where he’s inserted like a cardboard cut-out made of charm. He’s joined by Colin Farrell’s Coach who’s trying so hard to help Rough Youth™️ do the right thing but still gets sucked into a gangster world.
If you’re as bored of Hollywood’s endless cycle of all-the-SFX-and-no-plot as I am, you’re in for a real treat with The Gentlemen. Get to it.