A back to basics Guy Ritchie delivers another tale of the British gangland. Armed with a professional ability to operate at Hollywood’s highest level, thanks to the likes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), King Arthur (2017) and Aladdin (2019), Ritchie delivers his most prestigious take on the English underworld. His recent fling with Hollywood seems to have brought with it a whole heap of filmmaking prowess and big names. Though that said Ritchie has always been a talent that lures big actors.
The cast is this film’s greatest asset. All of the characters are these larger-than-life people who could easily be over acted. But everyone reigns it in. Hugh Grant, playing completely against type, never goes that step too far. Matthew McConaughey also would have been forgiven for really going overboard, as the super-suave gang leader, but he plays it conservatively. There’s just so many actors (Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan and Colin Farrell) all just doing what’s right for the film and not for their egos.
The format of the film would probably benefit from multiple viewings. Losing preconceived notions of what the film is going to be could definitely help with your enjoyment. It’s presented as a one-perspective retelling which I was expecting to just be initial exposition but it persists for the entire runtime. This isn’t a bad thing but I was waiting for the film to kick into a traditional format which it never does. That’s my fault but still worth pointing out.
In terms of where this ranks in the Ritchie gangster canon that’s relatively straight forward. I’m a really big Rock’n’rolla fan but I accept that it’s not everyone’s favourite. Revolver on the other hand is definitely everyone’s least favourite and rest assured that The Gentlemen is more than able to surpass it. I always go back and forth as to whether Lock Stock or Snatch is Ritchie’s best film but if we just assign them in no particular order to the top two spots then that leaves The Gentlemen. For me Rock’n’rolla does outrank Gentlemen but objectively speaking I’m happy to let it slip to fourth.
You just can’t go past this killer cast and the really prestigious filmmaking. The movie is cool and self-assured. Sometimes a little too clever for itself and thinks it’s a bit cleverer than the audience but by no means pretentious. It’s a good time at the cinema and coming out in the wake of Star Wars it might just be the perfect antidote to your blockbuster blues.
Cool as fuck, killer cast:
Written By Benjamin Boekelaar