Director Guy Ritchie has been spending the last few years making big budget Hollywood Blockbusters with varied degrees of success. For each flop (King Arthur and the Legend of the Sword) there was a triumph (Aladdin). Despite this, Ritchie has not forgotten his British roots and now returns to a genre he does as well as any other working director today – the Gangster movie.
The Gentlemen centre’s around Multi-millionaire American drug lord Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) living in London who is looking to sell his hugely profitable cannabis empire and settle down with his lovely wife Ros. First up is possible investor Kingpin Matthew (Jeremy Strong) who considers Mickey’s proposal but once word gets out of the potential sale, Chinese Gangster Dry Eye (Henry Golding) enters the scene, one of Mickey’s weed plantations gets raided and all hell breaks loose.
But not wishing to make it too simple for the audience, in true Ritchie fashion, the story is told through the eyes of sleazy private investigator Fletcher (a fantastic playing against type Hugh Grant) who is relaying the plot to Mickey’s 2nd in command Ray (Charlie Hunnam) and fashioned the whole yarn into a movie script he’s looking to sell in order to blackmail Mickey for 20 Million pounds.
Initially it’s difficult to follow what’s happening due to, again staying true to Ritchie’s style, the amount of characters that are quickly introduced in short sharp bursts and the pace the story is told, but once things settle down there’s a lot fun to be had as the movie follows multi plot strands to great effect.
Ritchie has proven himself a dab hand at sharp and funny dialogue and uses this to the max with some memorable and quotable lines. The supporting cast are also on brilliant form – Colin Farrell is great value as a boxing “Coach” wearing a variety of checked tracksuits but proves key to the outcome and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery as Mickey’s foul-mouthed wife Ros.
Whilst The Gentlemen doesn’t have the most original of plots, as a writer and director, it’s easily Ritchie’s best movie since 2000’s Snatch as he strives to live up to his rep as the British Tarantino. 2020 is off to a great start!