Director: Guy Ritchie | Distributed by: STX Entertainment | Rating: R
This review does not contain spoilers
Guy Ritchie is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors currently working. While he hasn’t directed Oscar-winning movies, he adds a unique style to most of his films, planting a good story and well-written characters.
The impressive cast of actors Ritchie has assembled for The Gentlemen is immediately noteworthy. My biggest concern about this film was the risk of relying too heavily on the actors to do all the work, while the script/story struggled. Fortunately, there was no support for those concerns.
Of course, it goes without saying that Oscar-winner Mathew McConaughey was superlative. I want to turn my attention, though, to actor Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) who really shone here. Hunnam’s presentation of Raymond was surprisingly amusing, offering some timely humor and moments of real intensity. Hunnam proved his great range in portraying a character, even when among more established actors.
I mentioned briefly of McConaughey’s performance, but it was not enough to explain his affect on my enjoyment. Playing the revered drug leader of Britain, Micky Pearson was both collected and fearsome. Colin Farrell brought more complexity to the plot as his character becomes deeply linked to the drug business of Mickey. One of the highlights of the film was Farrell’s interactions with Hunnam’s character.
The plot, while at times convulsed, was never hard to follow if you paid attention. Sure, the narrative requires a lot to happen within two hours, but the nature of the plot called for a compelling, albeit fast-paced tale that fits well with the setting.
Hugh Grant’s role cannot be overlooked, mainly due to the excellent performance, but also the significance of his involvement in furthering the plot of the movie. Playing an outrageously sneaky screenwriter who thinks it’s a good idea to mess with Mickey Pearson’s preferences. His critical encounters, however, come to Raymond (Charlie Hunnam).
The Gentlemen is beautifully presented with an emphasis on the theme of a gangster movie set in Britain in the 90s. By comparison to the contemporary setting around them, even the characters’ style in clothing seems old-fashioned. From the stunning interior shown in mansions/houses, to the way characters speak and interact with one another.
Sadly, the plot can move a little fast, as mentioned earlier, which means some lost opportunity to expand on the history of characters and further the story. Even specific dialogue can feel somewhat rushed, and it’s present in the movie only enough, which is a shame.
However, The Gentlemen does distinguish itself from being a cliché gangster movie. There’s strong character development here, with excellent dialogue and a beautifully shot film. Michelle Dockery makes her presence felt as the wife of Mickey Pearson, but also as a genuinely badass character with a personality that’s memorable.
Performances are all out great within the film, and Guy Ritchie’s return to the action genre is well-timed. Although there are not many sequences containing action, it feels thrilling and enough to make you sit on the edge of your seat when they happen.
It’s a good piece of cinema to start off the year, and I was pleasantly surprised for the most part. Sure, the movie could’ve benefited further from a longer runtime, but the performances, script, setting and story all make for a really enjoyable time. The Gentlemen sits at a comfortable 8/10.