Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) 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.
If I am going to be one hundred percent completely honest with you, I wasn’t really all that excited for Guy Ritchie’s latest feature film The Gentlemen, and by all accounts, I should have been. Throughout the years, I have greatly enjoyed some of his films, most notably 2019’s Aladdin, which was met with mixed reviews, but I found myself genuinely enjoying it, and I was the one that thought it was going to be extremely bad. Blue CGI Will Smith genie? No thanks. But it turned out great.
But a lot of Ritchie fans absolutely adore his older films such as 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and 2000’s Snatch, and I admittedly do too. What was turning me off from The Gentlemen was the trailers and the rest of the marketing. It just looked so bland and generic to me.
The trailers were not clear in what type of movie that was going to be, really. It seemed like a bunch of movies mashed into one. Plus, the posters did not help all that much either. I vividly remember when the first official teaser poster was released for this film, I thought it was a Kingsman spinoff film because the marketing was just that similar.
But now I can happily report that The Gentlemen is most certainly not a Kingsman clone, and it is also not a bunch of movies mashed into one; it is a refreshingly fun and often greatly funny story that has quite a bit of things to enjoy for almost everybody.
Something that Ritchie has always been great at doing is writing, and it is extremely evident that he wrote this film because it definitely has that Ritchie sense of style with its screenplay, and that is such a good thing. A ton of the writing is whip-smart and although it does kind of feel scripted and sometimes the dialogue doesn’t feel like things real people would actually say, a large portion of the writing was smart and often wild.
Speaking of the writing, I was surprised by how funny The Gentlemen was. The trailers did not make me laugh one bit, yet the actual film had a bunch of funny moments that had myself and many others in the theatre laughing. While most of the humor works quite well here, there are unfortunately some jokes that do not land whatsoever and actually come off with bad taste. Sometimes the jokes come across as offensive and whenever those kinds of jokes were told in the film, I actually cringed a little bit.
But the thing that I enjoyed the most about The Gentlemen is its world, sense of style, and overall story. This world feels so grimy and lived in and it felt like a place that I would not want to go to. All of the characters feel dangerous and vile. The style is not Kingsman and it is not even James Bond either. What it is, however, is somehow a bold and exciting new style that doesn’t borrow from either of those films. This does certainly feel like a crime/spy movie at times, but a unique one.
The story spans multiple characters, locations, and time periods and while it does get extremely muddled (especially later on), it was still a lot of fun to watch. The way everything ultimately played out was greatly satisfying, but I do wish the story progression was handled better, because it did often feel incredibly messy.
Also, all of the actors here do a terrific job in their roles, most notably Charlie Hunnam as Raymond and Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson. Both actors completely disappeared into their roles and did an excellent job at portraying characters that seemed really difficult to play. Their natural comedic talents worked great here.
As a whole, this was a good, fun time at the movies that does have some genuinely good twists up its sleeve that I truly never saw coming. I think that there is something for everybody to enjoy with this film, and it is one that I don’t think you should miss out on.
The Gentlemen offers a bold and stylish story with fun performances, great twists and turns, and humor that works for the most part.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language throughout, sexual references and drug content
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Distributed by: STXfilms (United States)
Release Date: January 24, 2020 (United States)
Running Time: 113 minutes