“The Gentlemen” (MA) *** and a half
WRITER/director Guy Ritchie’s new action/thriller/crime film is rough-textured, tough to digest, complex, and jolly good fun, smart, polished, uncompromising, cruelly-inventive, a powerful testimonial to the merits of the way English criminals do business on the big-screen.
It’s been said that “The Gentlemen” rehashes the formula that has nurtured Ritchie since he arrived on the scene with “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” in 1998. That’s as may be. So what? The cachet of escapist fast-moving violent immoral cinema is full of rehashes.
Mickey (Mathew McConaughey) is an American living in England where his vertically-integrated marijuana business has made him very rich. He’s currently negotiating its sale as a going concern to Cannabis King Pin Mathew (Jeremy Strong). Therein lies scope for conflict and generally dirty doings.
That’s pretty much all you need to know in advance about the plot. The structure moves back and forth from a late-night surprise meeting at which Fletcher (Hugh Grant in possibly his best role to date playing a man with information that he’s not about to sell cheaply) visits Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) to tell him what’s about to break out around Mickey’s sale deal. The Chinese are interested. They want to get more involved.
The story moves back and forth in time, hither and yon around the underworld in its varied London and rural locations, perhaps becoming a tad confused for the viewer to keep track of, but not so much so as to deter enthusiasm to see how it pans out.
For Mickey, for his wife (Michelle Dockery), for coach (Colin Farrell) whose boxing academy adds local young men with violent propensities to the story – the list goes on and keeping track is a major element of the fun.
Go with the flow, don’t expect too much, and “The Gentlemen” can be rewarding. The vocabulary knows no limits.
At all cinemas