If you are familiar with writer/director Guy Ritchie’s eccentric brand of British gangster films (see Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) and if you are a fan, then you are going to have a lot of fun with the filmmaker’s latest effort, The Gentlemen. It’s a far cry from his last movie, 2019’s Aladdin, which, I’m sure, will fulfill the collective wishes of many moviegoers.
The plot involves a British tabloid reporter (Hugh Grant), an American marijuana magnate (Matthew McConaughey), his henchmen (Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell) and his wife (Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey), and rival drug kingpins (Jeremy Strong, Henry Golding). Of course, the story is also populated with an assortment of Ritchie-styled characters with names like Bunny, Big Dave, Dry Eye and Phuc.
It took me a little while to adjust my cinematic-senses to the harsh British accents, the jumping timelines and the unconventional narrative, but once I got into the groove The Gentleman was charismatically entertaining and, at times, hilariously funny.
McConaughey is adequate in the lead role as the high-profile drug-dealer/businessman, but he might be a bit too low-key to pull off the seriously violent scenes. Charlie Hunnam is also fairly sleep-inducing and is only saved by his interactions with a thoroughly goofy Hugh Grant. On the other hand, Colin Farrell steals the show playing a (mostly) kind-hearted mixed martial-arts instructor.
With this film Richie has reclaimed his crown as the Martin Scorsese of British gangster films, and The Gentleman is a charming and inventive way to start a new decade of cinematic shenanigans.