The Gentlemen - an annoying, out-dated, self-obeisant film that glorifies violence and geezers
2 out of 5
Guy Ritchie has returned to his geezer-gangster roots with this oddly crafted, star-studded, predictable crime-caper. With both screenplay writing and directing duties, Ritchie has delivered a film that left me scratching my head while others in the screening I attended guffawed their way through it.
I have to be honest, I'm not a fan of films that seek to glorify violence, or to make violent criminals into clever heroes. Don't get me wrong, Martin Scorsese's latest film, The Irishman contains violence too but it shows the characters to be despicable, not enviable. That's the trouble with The Gentlemen. It makes out the criminals and their cut-throat ways to be almost fashionable, while they are deeply immoral.
What lifts this film from a one star review to a two star review is the cast. Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery and Henry Golding are the all-star cast. McConaughey is always watchable and he carries the film with his usual charm and suave sophistication. Hugh Grant is clearly enjoying a bit of a renaissance and his character here plays a camp, gutter-inhabiting tabloid journalist - a role I'm sure he relished based on his history with the UK tabloid press. Colin Farrell is good and carries the reluctant gangster role with ease. To be honest, he has done it better before. In Bruges springs to mind. Charlie Hunnam is under-used and gets precious few moments to shine. Michelle Dockery is shamefully stereotyped as the gangster's moll. And one wonders what exactly Henry Golding was thinking in taking on his role. Maybe he is trying to cast off the ghost of Last Christmas.
The story involves McConaughey's character wanting to sell off the drug empire he has developed from scratch in order to retire. There are twists and turns - all of which are very predictable. What is also entertaining is the way the story is told. Ritchie uses Hugh Grant's character as a reporter to tell the story. He appears one evening in the home of McConaughey's right hand man, played by Charlie Hunnam, in an attempt to blackmail him. In a story told through flashbacks and the clever use of a film script, penned by Grant's character, we witness the unfolding events. It's a clever vehicle.
Other than that, there is nothing to recommend this, except to fans of geezer-gangster films. It's a dinosaur.