Movie Review: THE GENTLEMEN Starring Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery
After a billion-dollar stint with the Mouse, Guy Ritchie has gone back to his roots with the twelfth feature-length film of his career, The Gentlemen. The film follows a slew of characters through several twists and turns in a thriving drug empire in London, led by none other than Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson. As it becomes clear that Porter wants out of the game, his life begins to crumble as several other players in the game begin looking to succeed him and they’ll do whatever it takes to get there.
Another one of the gents headlining in this film is Hugh Grant, and what a treat that was. I grew up knowing Grant as the guy in all the romantic movies, but between this and his performance in Paddington 2 in 2018, it’s clear he’s having a lot of fun with his career and I’m thoroughly enjoying this resurgence. In The Gentlemen, Grant plays a private-eye with a blackmailing motive to get paid off for a screenplay he’s writing that exposes Mickey’s empire. He corners Mickey’s right-hand man, Ray (Charlie Hunnam) in an effort to squeeze as much information out of him as possible. While the cat and mouse conversation is entertaining to some degree, it makes up the bulk of the movie and I found myself rather bored of it quickly.
Like the few Ritchie penned films I’ve seen, The Gentlemen is extremely dialogue-heavy. The cockney accents give the film the Guy Ritchie flavor, but beneath the droves and droves of dialogue, the story just isn’t quite that interesting and there’s unfortunately not enough action to make up for it either. The film is unique in the way that it’s told because Grant’s character is trying to piece together what happened up until that point and the viewers may or may not be seeing something that’s entirely accurate as it’s being played out. On paper, I like what Ritchie is striving for, but by the end of the film, I just never felt like he quite got there – especially for the meta moments in the final minutes to pay off.
Immediately, I was turned off by the very first scene, as the film falls into a trope that I’m so tired of seeing. The first act of the film is a snoozefest to which I was so very close to succumbing to, but it does pick itself up along the way with some laugh out loud and very badass moments, but by the time it begins to feel really interesting…it’s over.
The rest of the cast do a decent job with what they have, Colin Farrell being the stand-out as “the Coach,” an Irish gym boss who gets wrapped up in the whole ordeal himself with his squad of rappers whom we get to see in action with pieces of their music video intertwined in the film and credits. Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) is great as the more trigger happy rival to Mickey and establishes himself quickly as dangerous as they come. Even Charlie Hunnam, whom I’ve never really been partial to, is decent in his role here.
But the film is carried by McConaughey and Grant, and if you can get past the first act, there’s some fun to be had with The Gentlemen. It just never quite went above average for me.