Director Guy Richie delivered raucous humor and intricate storytelling with little regard to political correctness in his latest film about UK marijuana tycoon Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey).
Released Jan. 24, 2020, “The Gentlemen” is defined by curves, twists and cliffhanging moments throughout, likely confusing viewers of the who, what, when and where within the first thirty minutes; however, the film does well by keeping viewers glued through sheer entertainment and comedic quality.
The film’s fantastic writing brings all parts together making sense of the plot repeatedly before catching us in another twist to again deliver later.
“The Gentlemen” enters the screen with rambunctious double-agent private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) attempting intricately to sell information to Mickey Pearson’s operation. Pearson is selling his business and tomfoolery is abound.
Fletcher sneakily approaches Raymond (Charlie Hunnam), Pearson’s best man, in Raymond’s own kitchen. Fletcher has a proposition - £20 million for information.
Explaining himself, Fletcher weaves together pieces of Ray’s and Pearson’s operation and internal events, building climatically, to reveal players attempting to undermine Pearson’s operation through betrayal and gangster manipulation.
Fletcher retells events theatrically, referring to the story as a 35mm classical film with grain and all, defining the character’s eccentric quality.
Working for arrogant UK tabloid owner, Big Dave (Eddie Marsan), Fletcher’s been offered a measly £150,000 to expose Pearson’s operation. Fletcher, however, through ambitious desires offers details to Raymond to help Pearson’s operation, but at a cost of £20 million, and a catch.
Should Raymond deny his request or something should happen to him, Fletcher affirms his insurance policy will release Pearson’s information to the tabloids, blowing his operation wide open.
The screenplay bounces back and forth between previously occurring events and Fletcher’s and Raymonds’s interaction; it does so brilliantly through stunning cinematic cutscenes and grandiose storytelling.
More than once Fletcher recalls events incorrectly, giving opportunity for the film to visit a more violent outcome on Pearson’s actions. Fletcher does it for fun (and perhaps to confirm details), rewinding scenes as he goes on to retell the events correctly when Raymond calls him out; the feat serves Grant’s character well and keeps movie goers on the edge of their seat.
Grant carries the movie through his eccentric character’s gall, wit and ability to manipulate out of any pickle he lands. Grant’s homoerotic comments toward Raymond are hilariously delivered through his emotional disposition and Hunnam’s sometimes nonchalant reaction. Grant shines in his character’s delivery.
McConaughey delivers as well playing the stoic Mickey Pearson. Pearson is quoted at the film’s onset, “in the jungle the only way a lion survives is not by acting like a king but being a king.” McConaughey fulfills the role well by playing himself. Slow to temper, Mickey Pearson seldom resorts to brutal violence, but when hands are laid on his wife (played by Michelle Dockery) McConaughey shines in the moment when taking things into his own hands.
Though our protagonist and by far the highest paid actor, McConaughey is seen much less frequently than Grant or Hunnam who truly make the movie through their interactions with one another and throughout.
Hunnam does fantastic playing the tycoon Pearson’s best man. Like Pearson, Raymond is a stoic character whom calmly addresses each situation with tact and prose, but adds a lightheartedness in his dealings. Though not as eccentric as the dirty investigator Fletcher, Hunnam delivers good comedic value to the screen through his carefree handling of events.
Adding to the array of characters is Coach (played by Collin Farrell). Coach, an Irish gym owner who teaches street fighting to troubled young men, gets thrown into the tomfoolery after his gym rats raid one of Pearson’s manufacturing plants.
In a twist, it turns out the Coach’s students were influenced by one of Pearson’s opposing gang’s members. And the plot thickens.
“The Gentlemen” was filmed on a low budget of $18.4 million. Opening weekend made over half of that back domestically at $11 million. Worldwide reception was a hit at $33 million.
The film’s R rating is well deserved.
Though no sexually explicit content presents itself in “The Gentlemen”, plenty of sexual reference is made. From Fletcher’s comical sexual advances on Raymond to a comical scene involving bestiality instigated by Farrell’s character, sexual content is strong.
Some may have difficulty with racial references and the strength of language.
Violence is a staple of the film. Gore, guns, and death are regular and teeter on extreme in some instances.
Though nearly a two-hour ride, “The Gentlemen” will keep you glued to your seat, forgetting how long you’ve been sitting. The film is highly recommended for anyone looking for a good laugh and a plot that keeps you guessing.