Review – The Gentlemen
Guy Ritchie returns to his cult cockney gangster genre with a surprisingly entertaining film that reaches near parody at times, but is easily justified by the work of Hugh Grant and Colin Farrell
After his brief foray into the world of Disney with Aladdin, Guy Ritchie returns to his home of cult cockney gangsters with 2019’s The Gentlemen.
Once the fresh and stylish auteur of British cinema with 1998’s Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and 2000’s Snatch, Ritchie has seemed to lose his way since his opening double. In part, he offered stale versions of his hits with Revolver (2005) and Rock’n’Rolla (2008) and Hollywood jobs with Sherlock Holmes (and sequel), The Man from Uncle and dare I mention it, King Arthur : Legend of the Sword. It hasn’t been a great run for him, with the exception of Downey Jnr’s work as Holmes.
And so, we find Ritchie back where it all began. A cockney gangster comedy action thriller. This time, the story centres on Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), a Kingpin in the illegal growing and selling of cannabis, and now attempting to sell his business and retire with his wife (Michelle Dockery).
This would be tricky enough but for the interference of a newspaper editor (Eddie Marsan), offended by Pearson, who has taken a blood oath to destroy him with the help of a seedy private investigator – played by a film stealing Hugh Grant. Additionally, problem arrive in the form of a Chinese gang, including Henry Golding, and a boxing club managed by Colin Farrell. The film follows Pearson and his ‘consiglieri’ Raymond (Charlie Hunnam).
Here’s the big shock of the film though. It works, and is really enjoyable. Its easily his best work in this genre since Snatch and probably in any genre. You sense that the break from this style of film has allowed him to bring a freshness to it, and combined with this are the two performances of Hugh Grant and Colin Farrell. Each take every opportunity to steal each scene that they are in, and the film is hugely enriched by their work.
There are times where the film (and especially the dialogue) drifts almost to the point of parody of his style of script as cockney rhyming slang and gangster-speak flies all over the place.
All in though, it is extremely entertaining addition to the best of his work in this cockney-gangster genre. It drifts near parody at times, but the work of Hugh Grant and Colin Farrell make it definitely worth watching albeit not urgent cinema viewing.