Basically: Guy Ritchie’s return to drugs and crime, but also like, with money, no Jason Statham, and lots of Non-Brits?
Summary: A drug lord attempts to sell his assets.
Alright, here we go. First 2020 viewing. It’s not looking great! Kidding. I think this technically came out as a 2019 release. I was a big Guy Ritchie fan back in the day. Like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels was one of those movies I insisted people watch. I’ve been missing his crime stuff and was excited to hear him going back. If The Irishman was all about Martin Scorcese’s commentary on his own life and gangster movies, the same could technically be said about Ritchie’s The Gentlemen. He goes back to his roots, yeah? Marijuana and drug cons, yeah? A story within a story? References to past work? Translations of British slang floating across my screen, henchmen doing silly things and getting themselves into trouble, voiceovers, double entendres between two male characters, cons on cons under cons, a guy named Mickey, plus it still has that feeling of running long, too!
Except now, like Guy, the characters have made a pretty bundle for themselves and they’re sitting on lots of cash and a gold mine and they talk to potential script developers. Our Mickey has a bunch of cash and he’s looking to get out of the game, but when he starts to explore potential buyers of his business, hijinks ensue! If you like Guy Ritchie’s previous work, chances are you will like this movie. He’s come a long way- there’s a little more finesse, but it’s not his best work by any means. He’s even picked up yet another Tarantino trait of using industry references as a wink wink. BUT he’s clearly having fun on set with his buddies, which I feel has been getting away from him. It’s good to see him enjoying his work again.
It’s a little tough to get by some of the acting though and I get it- Ritchie’s dialogue can be a little wordy and more style over substance. Charlie Hunnam plays a role clearly written with Jason Statham in mind and with about 50% of the disdain but 100% of the same enunciation- I like seeing him in non motorcycle roles. Matthew McConaughey, I guess, is supposed to be US-born and raised but British educated, but that seems like a shoveled plot point so he didn’t have to work on an accent. Henry Golding pulls faces and there’s even a James Bond reference in here. Even Jeremy Strong, who is SO good in Succession, feels a little forced at times. Luckily, Hugh Grant is here to save the day and also, Colin Farrell is just delightful. Can we have a clause where Farrell can only act in his natural accent? Because he’s so good when he’s not trying so hard.
That’s about it. The jokes land, the stories intertwine in a nicely organic way, and there are twists here and there right in the beginning! It’s one of those movies you can just sit back and enjoy and you walk out thinking, “Hey, that was a lot of fun.” It’s not the best start 2020 could have had- but it’s definitely a start with a bang.