Movie review: 'The Gentlemen' is vintage Guy Ritchie

Fred Hawson

Posted at Feb 05 2020 12:05 PM | Updated as of Feb 05 2020 12:06 PM

Matthew McConaughey leads the cast of 'The Gentlemen'

Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) was a American guy who gained access into Oxford University by way of a scholarship. From there, he was able to cultivate a thriving underground marijuana business and establish his own criminal organization with his loyal henchman Ray (Charlie Hunnam). Now hoping to retire, Pearson planned to sell his business to American billionaire Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong) for a cool $400 million. 

However, the deal was made more complicated by Pearson's cockney wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery), Chinese gangsters led by young upstart Dry Eye (Henry Golding), Russian gangsters, delinquent boxers and their Coach (Colin Farrell), a tabloid editor Big Dave (Eddie Marsan) and his underhanded private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) who had written up his interesting findings in the form of a screenplay for sale. 

British writer-director Guy Ritchie in the late 1990s burst into the scene with a couple of crime comedies "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" (1998) and "Snatch" (2000) with accents so thick I wished there were subtitles. From there he became Madonna's husband (2000-2008) and had gone on to more mainstream films like "Sherlock Holmes" (2009 and sequel in 2011) and the live-action "Aladdin" (2019). He returns to his ensemble crime-comedy roots with "The Gentlemen" and he proved he is a master of this genre.

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McConaughey was always cool as a cucumber as Mickey Pearson, only getting ruffled when his wife was in peril. Hunnam may have been a bland leading man in films like "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" (2017, also by Ritchie), but here as Ray, he was actually charismatic. Grant was so sleazy funny as Fletcher, while Farrell was so nonchalantly funny as Coach -- they were the best parts of the film. 

Golding, so debonair in "Crazy Rich Asians," needed some time to be convincing as the ruthless bad guy Dry Eye. Dockery, my first time time to see her outside "Downton Abbey," held her own as Rosalind, the only rose among the thorny lads. 

The plot gets interesting from the get go when an attempt was immediately made on Mickey Pearson's life. Then the whole story began to unfold when Fletcher was attempting to sell his findings (in movie script form) to Pearson's right-hand man Ray for 20 million pounds sterling. 

From there, we meet all the characters come and go as the complicated story went back and forth in time, with certain rewind edits whenever Ray thought that Fletcher went too overboard with his storytelling and characterizations. 

Once you get into the groove and the thick accents, it won't let go. You may even want to watch it all over again to get all the connections straight.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."