Guy Ritchie is a director who has a special kind of humor. Whether it’s because he is British or he simply has a vivid imagination I cannot say. I think it’s a mix of both. Having been to the United Kingdom a few times myself, I can say that for an outsider it sometimes is hard to understand the British humor.
In his career, Ritchie made all kinds of movies. He reinvigorated the Sherlock Holmes franchise and even moved on to make a major Disney movie last year.
However, his best and most creative work was at the beginning of his career as a filmmaker. “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” are brilliant crime comedies, that not only live from the excellent cast but the hilarious screenplay and the bold directing choices.
This year’s “The Gentlemen” reminded me a lot of those two movies and when the movie starts it feels like a typical guy Ritchie crime comedy.
Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) is the right hand of American pot dealer Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey). One day Ray comes home to find Fletcher, a gun for hire, (played with tremendous energy by a fast-talking, scene-stealing Hugh Grant) in his living room trying to blackmail him for twenty-million pounds in order keep quiet some incriminating evidence he has against Mickey. Fletcher was hired by newspaper reporter Fishmonger, who was insulted by Mickey and wants to destroy him.
From here on out Fletcher starts telling a story that may or may not be true. I’ll leave that for you to find out.
I do not want to give any more away as not to spoil anything but I can say it gets very interesting and fast-paced.
The Gentlemen is very fun to watch and what I found most interesting about the movie was the title. None of the characters in the movie are real gentlemen. It’s more the illusion and the facade they put on when they are in public or try to close a business deal. The characters are all interesting enough to care about and the last time I saw so many crazy characters in a movie was when I watched “Snatch”.
McConaughey plays Mickey with a crazy energy that I didn’t think he had. He usually takes more quiet and controlled roles (which I have to say right now no one else plays like him) but here it’s different. Mickey is crazy and there are a few scenes when McConaughey just goes completely nuts that it’s almost scary. He always used his physique to act but the things he does with his face are really something new.
Hugh Grant, who I have always regarded as a good actor, shows a different side of him here. He isn’t the polite, handsome gentlemen he portrays in most his movies but rather a sleazy gangster who cares about no one but himself.
With a raggedy beard and orange sunglasses, he doesn’t look at all like his usual gentle self.
But for me, the highlight of the film is the outstanding Colin Farrell. In his first scene halfway through the movie, he is simply hilarious. I won’t spoil it for you so you can enjoy it for yourself but I want to say that I haven’t laughed so hard about a movie in a long time. He ends up stealing every scene he’s in. It’s simply great.
But all these actors couldn’t be that good without a great screenplay.
The plot of the movie is not as fast-paced as “Uncut Gems” or “Knives Out”, it needs some time to take off but once it does and we get a sense of all the characters, it’s a lot of fun to watch. From a very enjoyable opening montage to a plot riddled with twists and turns we get everything one could want a movie like this. Ritchie (who wrote the screenplay with regular collaborator Ivan Atkinson) gives it his all and everybody who has seen his earlier movies will recognize some typical story elements. I am not going to say which but I am sure you will recognize them once you see them.
The Gentlemen is a very fun movie to watch and while it may seem familiar the constant change of atmosphere and direction is refreshing and keeps the story going. It makes for a fun experience and is definitely worth a watch