The last time Guy Ritchie released a film it was a notorious big-screen bomb.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword was an action-fantasy film. But behind its universal panning, the film is hell and had you actually watched it you would agree.
The Gentlemen is a great return for Ritchie. He’s a superb action director, and here he melds what he does so well into one great action flick.
The film centres around American expat and kingpin Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), who built a highly profitable marijuana empire in England.
When word gets out that he might be looking to cash out of the business, it triggers schemes, bribery and blackmail in an attempt to steal his domain out from under him.
Mickey, Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) and Fletcher (Hugh Grant) are the three lead characters in the story.
Fletcher is a strange, private detective who finds dirt on rich powerful people and then tries to sell it to the highest bidder. In this instance, Fletcher has dirt on Mickey and he decides to share his theory with Raymond (Mickey’s righthand man).
A series of double-crossing, gunfights, car chasing and gangsters galore unfold in what can only be described as an epic, often hilarious, action-packed adventure in London’s underground world.
“I knew it was the type that had the particular Guy Ritchie music and metre to it. People talk in his films like he edits them, it’s very clean and to the point.
“This is the type of world and story I wanted to work with Guy Ritchie in. This is where he has left his mark already as a very original voice,” said McConaughey.
“One of the huge powers that Guy has is his ability to give a lot of autonomy to the people he hires. He encourages not only the actors, but every department to go off, explore and do our best work and if he feels it is not quite pulling off the Guy Ritchie filter then he will tweak and adjust,” said Hunnam.
Hunnam also starred in Arthur and you can see there’s a great actor/director fusion there.
What is most exciting is the fact that the film is delightfully offensive. No one or religion is safe from these foul-mouthed criminals.
The Gentlemen moves away from the blockbuster action trope of unbelievability – like humans catching helicopters and not getting killed while crashing cars.
Instead, the action sequences are offset by wry wit and humour, with Grant and Colin Farrell delivering noteworthy performances. It’s also exciting to see Grant move away from his bumbling Englishman shtick into a true scumbag.
Is it award-winning? No. But it’s refreshing to watch pure octane.
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam and Michelle Dockery
Director: Guy Ritchie
Classification: 18 DLSV