Mickey Pearson is an American expatriate who became rich by building a marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he's looking to cash out of the business, it soon triggers an array of plots and schemes from those who want his fortune.
It's safe to say that Guy Ritchie is back! After a couple of misfires (I'm looking at you live-action Aladdin remake and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) Guy Ritchie has managed to create an absolute stunner. Surprise surprise, he's had better luck with an original premise. With the almost laughable aim of creating a film that would have the same vibe as two of his earlier films (1998's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and 2000's Snatch), despite two decades passing since then, Ritchie has actually managed to succeed in his goal.
The Gentlemen has an outstanding ensemble cast including the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant. Yes, that Hugh Grant. The performances are strong, though the accents do take some getting used to. Grant and Hunnam sound the most overexaggerated and out of place, something that did raise alarm bells at the start of the film, but it did not take long for those concerns to be unfounded.
The narrative structure is initially a bit off-putting, with Hugh Grant's Fletcher dispensing a lot of exposition as he ever so slowly introduces all of the players in the game. Like that friend that talks over and explains the movie while you are watching it, this very upfront method of disseminating the plot takes a little while to warm up to. That all being said, this is an original film, with original characters. time needs to be spent to develop those characters and, in the end, it pays off by the barrel load. Like a boulder rolling along a slightly declining hill, it takes a while for the pacing of the film to pick up, but once it gets going, you cannot stop it.
I couldn't even tell you how long it took to get used to the narrative style, I can only say that by the halfway point, I was hooked. The joys of this style of story portrayal are that everything that we see is a reenactment of what the character that is narrating observed. As such, in each scene, there are details missed or omitted, and trying to bring all of those pieces together before it happens on screen is very enjoyable. It is a style that forces you to take in every little detail, taking note of any mannerisms, or body tells, that could give away the bigger picture. When you are dealing with a large group of expert manipulators with their own motives, it adds to the challenge as the layers of story and motivations quickly become complicated and tangled.
While this somehow manages to contain the energy of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, The Gentlemen is a much more mature film. With a lot more subtlety and nuance, there is a subdued and restrained nature; The Gentlemen is to Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, what The Irishman is to Scarface and Goodfellas (only The Gentlemen still manages to have some great action set pieces).
What really won over the audience in the screening, was the dialogue. Edgy is the best way to describe the manner in which it pushes buttons and boundaries. It tackles a lot of racial and social class matters throwing out an "offensive" line, and then justifying it, again and again shocking the audience and then pulling the rug out from beneath them to mock the audiences willingness to jump to conclusions. A great bit of commentary on the political correctness culture that is going around at the moment.
McConaughey is absolutely brilliant with his drawling southern accent and calm and confident, but imposing manner, Farrell is brilliant and manages to have an aura about him that is reminiscent of Pikey Brad Pitt from Snatch. Hunnam's performance is serviceable but really struggles to get into the role convincingly enough. This is perhaps my favourite performance from Henry Golding, though this could be more to this being the first role I have seen him in that didn't have him as a romantic interest. Hugh Grant though, he fully transforms for this role, and it actually took far too long to realise which character he was (This is as far from Notting Hill or Love Actually as you can get).
This definitely would have been a Top 5 film for 2019 if it didn't come out on Jan 1st, but is definitely a top contender for 2020. One of the few films this year that isn't a remake or sequel, and actually takes the time to introduce a team of characters and develop them, before introducing a premise. Taking its time, Guy Ritchie is able to insert comedic elements without it feeling forced, and create some effective tension and intrigue. Loved it. Cannot recommend enough.
Random listing from 'Movies'...
Last Call Pitches......
Now graduated from college, realising it takes more than a cappella to get by, all the Bellas return in the final chapter in the beloved series.
After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there are no job prospects for making music with only your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for a European USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music and some questionable decisions one last time.
All trademarks, images and copyrights on this site are owned by their respective companies.
KIWIreviews is an independent entity, part of the Knock Out News Group. This is a free public forum presenting user opinions on selected products, and as such the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of kiwireviews.nz and are protected under New Zealand law by the "Honest Opinion" clause of the Defamation Act of 1992. KIWIreviews accepts no liability for statements made on this site, on the premise that they have been submitted as the true and honest opinions of the individual posters. In most cases, prices and dates stated are approximate and should be considered as only guidelines.
"If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?"