The Gentlemen is a highly stylized well-written gangster romp that’s entertaining as hell. Writer/director Guy Ritchie has outdone himself in his latest work with one of the best works of his career. The Gentlemen manages to combine the wit of Snatch, the action from Revolver, with the style of Man from U.N.C.L.E., and it’s better written than those three films. The film certainly shows the type of growth Ritchie has undergone over the years. Most of his projects are either heavy with wit or action, but we’ve never seen this type of balance in any of his previous films.
The story centers around Mickey (Matthew McConaughey), Ray (Charlie Hunnam), and Fletcher (Hugh Grant). Fletcher is a private investigator who seemingly has dirt on all the rich and powerful in London. His goal is always looking to sell to the highest bidder. Now it seems that this sleuth has dirt on Mickey, who happens to be the weed Lord of England. Getting in the way of his plans is Michey’s desire to sell and get out of the business. At this point, we begin to get all those double-crosses, bloody confrontations, and gunfights, which are common in any number of Ritchie’s films.
McConaughey is terrific as Mickey. He’s smooth, controlling, and with just crazy enough to make his portrayal believable. Colin Farrell is reliable as always playing Coach, who plays a pivotal in all of this insanity. However, the man who will get most of the praise in The Gentlemen is Grant. The veteran actor dons these over the top sunglasses, grown out his facial hair, and gives the right affectation the immediately grabs the audience’s attention. He’s undoubtedly into Ray (Hunnam) and multiple times expresses his desire to sleep with him. Fletcher is the straw that stirs the cauldron of insanity in The Gentlemen. Ritchie has certainly crafted quite a memorable character.
Cinematography certainly played a key role in The Gentlemen. Cinematographer Alan Stewart managed to use camera angles and creative angles to give the audience perspective on who was the focus during each scene of the film, which is crucial because the film is told from Fletcher’s perspective mostly. The actions scenes were eye-popping and creative. The production design certainly gave the film an exciting backdrop making use of original structures with appealing colors as well. Of course, everyone will be raving about the costume design and rightly so. Each character’s look not only matched their personality but enhanced the enjoyment of the film.
Overall, The Gentlemen was quite the January surprise. It’s not often that a release is this solid and well constructed so early in the year. What’s crazy is that we had two of them this month! What does it say about the film landscape for 2020? Time will tell.