By James Davidson
Guy Ritchie’s new film, “The Gentleman” stars Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson. Mickey is an American who has built a marijuana empire in the UK and is looking to sell it for a huge sum of money. Many of his rivals are interested, and the knowledge of his desire to sell triggers a slew of plots, schemes, and bribery, that pits some of the UK’s biggest crime lords against one another.
I will start out by saying, I am a huge Guy Ritchie fan. “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” are some of my favorite movies. I knew to expect an extremely complicated plot with lots of ridiculous characters which would be very hard to follow due to a lot of twists and turns, as well as plenty of wild goose chases. That’s exactly what this movie delivers, and since I was expecting it, it was fairly easy for me to follow. But I understand it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
For someone not familiar with Guy Ritchie’s films, the plot could be very confusing, especially in the beginning. It takes a while for this movie to warm up and get going, but once it does, it’s a wild, hilarious ride. Most of the plot is being told from the point of view of a private investigator/writer named Fletcher (played by Hugh Grant) who is trying to blackmail Mickey by showing how much he knows about his illegal operation. Since the story is being narrated by Fletcher, the movie jumps around between the past and present a lot and shows things that Fletcher thinks might have happened, but didn’t actually happen. Telling a story this way is typical of Guy Ritchie’s style and can be confusing at first, but it all comes together at the end to make sense. I find it unique and enjoyable from stereotypical plotlines. The story is almost told backwards, starting at the ending of the movie and revealing what happened in the plot as the movie goes on.
Matthew McConaughey delivers an amazing performance as Mickey, leading a very talented cast who for the most part did an incredible job portraying a very interesting array of characters. Another of Guy Ritchie’s tropes, is that he likes to have a lot of over-the-top characters that have little personal quirks. For example, Mickey’s right hand man Ray (played by Charlie Hunnam) is an enforcer with OCD who takes care of Mickey’s empire. Most of the actors did an amazing job at portraying difficult characters and making them believable. One of my favorites was Colin Farrell who played Coach, a streetwise, middle-aged boxing instructor who gets unwittingly involved in saving Mickey’s empire.
The one issue with the acting I had was with Jeremy Strong as Matthew. Matthew is one of Mickey’s rivals who is interested in buying his empire. I couldn’t tell if the way Strong was acting was supposed to be one of his character’s quirks or if it was just a bad performance. His acting didn’t take away from the experience of the movie though, it was just a bit off-putting to me. I felt that I didn’t enjoy either the execution of the character’s quirks or just the character himself.
There were a lot of very funny moments brought on by the characters, and really took the movie to a whole other level. Most of the humor is situational and relies on the characters’ reactions to certain situations. This type of humor is very typical from Guy Ritchie, and I found it quite amusing. Most of the jokes had me laughing out loud throughout the movie.
This film is rated R for violence, language throughout, sexual references, and drug content. There is quite a bit of gore and violence in this movie, and obviously the basic plot is all about drugs, so I would think it is not appropriate for younger viewers and not a great family movie. However, it would be a great date night movie or a great time out with friends.
“The Gentleman” is a typical Guy Ritchie movie and a hilarious wild ride. I thought it was very enjoyable and will have you laughing throughout. It might have you a bit confused in the beginning, but by the end of the movie everything should be wrapped up nicely in a hilariously violent package. It earns 4.5 out of 5 stars.