I think I pinpointed why Guy Ritche’s new gangster comedy, THE GENTLEMEN, was put in the dump crap film month of January when it didn’t deserve to be. It has to be the marketing. When watching trailers and TV spots, I had no idea what the film was about other than it starred a bunch of recognizable faces, led by Matthew McConaughey and Charlie Hunnam, it involved gangsters, looked like a mild action comedy, and that it was directed by the dude that did Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels, yet also directed last years abysmal Aladdin remake. The trailers were just a bunch of incoherent scenes put together to try an elicit an out of context laugh. After watching the movie, I realize there was really no other way to market this film without pretty much giving everything away. And that is what is so great about this film, the discovery of it all through witty dialogue, twists upon twists upon twists upon turns, fantastic acting, some huge laughs, all wrapped around a plot that has so many layers you are still peeling them and finding fun connection even after the credits start rolling. I can also hypothesize that is why last year’s Aladdin sucked so hard, while making that film, he was just thinking about making this film after ward in his head, realizing how much better it was than the drivel he was directing Will Smith through, and couldn’t wait to be done with the bland overlords at Disney who have no fucking clue at this point what they are doing to destroy the studio. This is easily Guy Ritchie’s best film since Snatch.
I’m not really going to describe the plot to you here, as I feel like if I say anything, I’m going to ruin some of the fun. The log line on IMDB.com will do nicely: “A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires.” Mickey Pearson is that druglord’s name, and he is played wonderfully by Mr. McConaughey, and Charlie Hunnam is excellent as Mr. McConaughey’s right hand man. Michelle Dockery wonderfully plays his hard edged wife, Henry Golding is excellent as one of the buyers, and the less that is said about scene stealers Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant’s characters, the better. The movie starts out with two people just talking and going over events to what led them to this point, and then branches off into its own thing. The film plays with time and has some unreliable narrators and it all just adds up to one wacky tale that is a bit of a whodunit, a bit of an action comedy, with some incredible fucking dialogue and performances. It’s a witty film that absolutely earns every witty thing about it. It’s tongue in cheek while also not hitting you over the head with how tongue in cheek it is. This film makes me want to watch Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch again.
The direction by Guy Ritchie here is great, like I said, best since Snatch, everything has a nice polishing sheen to it, there are some great musical choices, and the editing is top notch for how many plots and subplots it has to handle. While some of it is predictable, especially the misdirection at the very beginning, the film has enough twists and turns to make you think that the predictable threads were intentional to throw you off track. But the real reason to say, and this is like the 5th time I’m saying this, is the dialogue, the plot, and the performances…especially a scene stealing Colin Farrell and a scene that involves Eddie Marsan’s character…you’ll know it when you see it. But yeah, great time at the movies, does not deserve to be in this dump month at all, but now that I think about this, last week’s pretty good Bad Boys For Life, and the other releases this month, I have a new theory: that January is a dump month now just for bland and unoriginal horror films. Ones that they know couldn’t make bank in October surrounded by better, more hyped terror tales. Who knows, we’ll see if this trend continues January 2021. Almost forgot to mention, this film has the best line in cinema so far this year, and I just keep repeating it in my head, and it basically describes the whole movie, said by Michelle Dockery: “There’s fuckery afoot.” The fuckery was fantastic in this movie and so enjoyable, go see it!