They just don’t make movies like The Gentlemen very often anymore. It marks Guy Ritchie’s return to the R-rated universe after directing more family-friendly films such as Aladdin, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Sherlock Holmes in recent years. While many people have different opinions about his recent films, most critics agree that his R-rated first two films (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch) were his best. Like most critics, I was eager to see if The Gentlemen is the old-fashioned crime-lord style of movie that would bring Ritchie back to the conversation of the world’s best directors.
I am not the type of person that believes Matt McConaughey is amazing in every movie simply because he is Matt McConaughey. Sometimes I get tired of the guy, especially for how often I see his Lincoln commercial’s on TV. However, Matt simply playing himself worked really well for the movie. He plays British drug lord Mickey Pearson, a man that has built up an empire worth hundreds of millions. Mickey reached the point in his life where he wanted to sell his empire and get out of the game to spend more time with his wife. As you can imagine, it isn’t easy to sell such a huge illegal business empire.
In a lot of ways, The Gentlemen is like a classic heist movie such as Oceans 11 or The Sting. There are twists and turns as more and more of the whole picture is unveiled to the audience. I must admit, the first 30 minutes of this film confused me. While it didn’t do a great job of grabbing the audience early, the last hour of the movie had me on the edge of my seat. I don’t think I really loved any of the characters in particular, but it doesn’t really matter. The payoff at the end is good enough and funny enough for most people to leave the theater happy.
Charlie Hunnam is one of my favorite actors in Hollywood right now, and he gave another nice performance here as Pearson’s assistant Ray. The rest of the cast is also pretty solid, especially Colin Farrell and Michelle Dockery. Jeremy Strong was the only actor in the film that I found particular bland. He just didn’t really sell me in comparison to all of the other acting performances. There is plenty of profanity (British style), drugs, and violence to the R-rating, but after all is said and done, I found The Gentlemen to be quite enjoyable.
The Gentlemen didn’t have a story so gripping that it affected me the rest of the evening like say, Joker. It wasn’t incredibly cinematic or beautiful like 1917, and it definitely wasn’t emotionally heart-warming like How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World or even Weathering with You. What is was, however, was an action-packed, interesting, and surprisingly funny movie that is the perfect choice for a fun night out with the boys. It won’t win awards, but the doesn’t mean it isn’t a very enjoyable movie.