“The Gentlemen” is a British action comedy film written and directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Mathew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant. The movie follows an American marijuana kingpin in England who is looking to sell his business, setting off a chain of blackmail and schemes to undermine him.
The film is a return to roots for director Guy Ritchie who started his career making British crime capers like “Snatch” and “Revolver.” This time around he gets American actor Matthew McConaughey to star in this twisted tall tale narrated by Fletcher (Grant), a reporter looking to blackmail everyone with a script he’s written titled “Bush.” The result is very similar to his earlier crime films; a fun but convoluted story with no real impact.
Ritchie usually fills his film with a plethora of interesting characters and this time is no different. Grant is the standout with his performance as the sleazy reporter, Fletcher, is an off-kilter and hilarious turn for the usually subtle actor. Charlie Hunnam is great as the intimidating but mild-mannered right hand to McConaughey’s character. Farrell plays the character of Coach with such wide-eyed weirdness that shows Farrell is right at home playing wonderfully offbeat characters.
Unfortunately, McConaughey is the weak link as the lead, Mickey Pearson. He plays the character well, but he’s not given much depth besides boring male protagonist.
The story plays with the tropes of the genre and gives the film an extra layer of meta-humor with the plot structured around the narration of the unreliable Fletcher. This makes the story feel almost like a tall tale, an exaggerated retelling of what happened.
This helps the humor land more, with us being able to accept where the film crosses the line of believability. Most of the humor hits home but it can sometimes feel immature with anti-Semitism and stereotypes.
The story is rather simple once you get over the weird structure and twists to keep you from figuring it all out. The twists and turns lead to a disappointing climax that wasn’t resolved cleverly. Instead of an interesting climax, it was just another generic high stakes shootout.
All in all, the film is a fun but pretty disposable ride that won’t stick with you for long.