The Gentlemen

Dept. of Devious Defalcators


Some directors have a “thing”. A theme, a style, a look.

Martin Scorsese has a “thing”. Martin Scorsese also has a theme. Steven Soderbergh has a style. Wes Anderson obviously has a look. An Adam McKay movie is so obviously an Adam McKay movie that when someone else tries it (I’m looking at you, Soderbergh, and The Laundromat) it can come off as a little bit jarring. (Okay, fine, The Laundromat was pretty good Steven.) 

Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman are uncles I never knew I wanted.

I bring this up to draw attention to the filmmaker that is Guy Ritchie. His new film, The Gentlemen, has all the hallmarks of a Guy Ritchie film. Set in Britain? Check. Gangsters? Check. Funny but not a comedy? Check. Action but not an action film? Also check.

Also a top notch cast.

The Gentlemen tells the story of Matthew McConaughey as a gentleman drug lord trying to get out of the business. Actually, The Gentlemen is Hugh Grant telling Charlie Hunnam the story of Hunnam’s boss, Matthew McConaughey, as a gentleman drug lord trying to get out of the business. Hugh Grant is great as a sleazy private investigator who tries to use this story as leverage to get some money out of Charlie Hunnam, and his boss, instead of delivering it to Eddie Marsan, who plays the newspaper editor who hired him. Throw in some Henry Golding and a hilarious Colin Farrell and you have yourself a movie.

Not in photo: Charlie Hunnam’s magnificent beard.

The Gentlemen truly feels like a throwback to early Guy Ritchie. The movie is fun and constantly moving forward, both in Hugh Grant’s narration of the story, but also in the way it was shot and edited. There were bits of it that felt frenetic, but not to the point of distraction, the way Birds of Prey sometimes was. This is a Guy Ritchie movie paced to within an inch of its life, but made by someone so utterly comfortable with this narrative style that it never gets out of hand. This is a Guy Ritchie movie before he tried to make an action epic (King Arthur) and before he tried his hand at a Disney movie (Aladdin). This feels like a Guy Ritchie movie where Guy Ritchie is able to have fun, and do what he is most comfortable doing. 

Also Guy Ritchie goes to work looking like a character in a Guy Ritchie movie.

The Gentlemen won’t go down as a classic. Not in the way Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch has. But if the worst thing you can say about The Gentlemen is that it feels like a Guy Ritchie movie, then I’ll take it. Because like Scorsese, Soderbergh, Anderson, and McKay, Guy Ritchie has a “thing”. And his “thing” is entertaining as all hell when he manages to pull it off.

The Gentlemen
113 minutes
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Collin Farrell, and Hugh Grant

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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