Film Review: The Gentlemen

Entertaining overall, but unfortunately the things that bother me most about The Gentlemen are large enough to keep this movie from being more than just alright (alight alright. Sorry, but you know I had to do it).

Basic Synopsis: An American weed empire in London. Because the one thing that would’ve probably been more distracting than Matthew McConaughey occasionally dropping into his Lincoln commercial persona is watching him attempting to do a British accent.

Brief Thoughts: Had Guy Ritchie not immediately shouted “look how clever I am” with jarring intercut footage of spinning film reels, aspect ratio alterations, and unnecessary filmmaking trivia, I may have been more on board with framing the film as a presentational and assumed interpretation of events by Hugh Grant’s investigative journalist Fletcher. Unreliable narrator tilts to storytelling are always very hit or miss for me to begin with, and though Grant’s performance was fun and refreshing enough to push me towards slowly coming back around to enjoying myself in Ritchie’s storytelling – added bonus for an A+ soundtrack and smartly written dialog that only stumbled occasionally due to certain performances that didn’t quite work for me – I still can’t help but feel like there wasn’t so much payoff to everything in the end as there was overly complicated attempts to wrap everything up with last minute reveals. Sometimes it works in Ritchie’s films, and sometimes it doesn’t. …and sometimes I need a second viewing to truly follow the thread all the way to the end.

Biggest Complaint: How do you cast Colin Farrell in a role like this and not dedicate most of the movie to him?

I hate to say it, but McConaughey’s weed boss is one of the least interesting characters in the film, second only to the man he spends a lot of his scenes with (sorry Jeremy Strong). Occasionally we see the side of Pearson that got him to where he is, but these flashes of emotion pale in comparison to what a lot of the roles around him have to offer. For starters, I was far more intrigued by Mickey Pearson’s wife and his second in command (played by Michelle Dockery and Charlie Hunnam, respectively) than the boss himself; and I would love – no, I demand – a spin-off/sequel following Colin Farrell’s character. I don’t care how Pearson got to be king of the jungle, I want to know what Coach has been through considering how easy it is for him to slip from a seeming upstanding member of society helping the youth of London to better themselves to someone willing to kidnap and kill anyone and everyone to keep his boys safe. He has to have a stash of weapons buried beneath a thick layer of cement in his basement, yeah?

Trigger Warning (Mild Spoilers): Threat of rape and implied bestiality.
(Further Details – AKA More Specific Spoilers) Michelle Dockery was great in the only lead female role, and it sucks that her character devolves into a plot device for the “development” of two other characters. In other words, she basically gets fridged.

Final Thoughts: Watching The Gentlemen was very much a love/hate roller coaster ride for me, and though overall the film comes out on the positive side of the line, I don’t see myself coming around on the things that really annoyed me – and ticked me off, if I’m being quite honest – about it.

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