I was introduced to Guy Richie through Snatch in the 10th grade. Yes, this was years after it’s release but I was a sheltered kid. The only adult movies I remember watching up until then were old James Bond films and the Die Hard franchise. But Snatch was special, I instantly fell in love with Guy Richie’s way of story-telling, his characters and his style of editing/filming. I quickly took a deep dive into all of his work before Snatch and have watched anything new since. I find his style is full of energy. If it wasn’t done purposely to keep our short attention spans engaged then kudos to him for figuring it out. So when I heard about The Gentlemen I was excited. It’s been years since Richie has written and directed a film. Eventually I would eagerly sit down with my popcorn with high hopes of another clever zig-zagging story about some criminals. Sadly I left the theatre disappointed and realizing it may be the only Guy Richie movie I don’t rewatch.
I will admit; the reason I watched Snatch was because Brad Pitt was on the cover. He may have brought me to the Guy Ritchie party but he wasn’t the reason I stayed. I think this movie is again trying to appeal to American audiences through a big name in Matthew McConaughey. He also pulls some UK actors from popular shows in the US like Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey). Round that out with other well-knowns: Hugh Grant (90s Rom-Com heart throb), Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) and Colin Farrell (the guy from that movie). Overall it’s an impressive cast, the a-listers and everyone else works really well together. The acting is top notch and believable, a real bright spot in the movie.
Most of the movie is being told by Hugh Grant as a movie and blackmail pitch to Charlie Hunnam who plays Matthew McConaughey’s right hand man, in his big time weed empire. But it’s time for Matt to retire so he’s working to sell the empire to one drug kingpin (with another getting in the way) while a newspaper man is trying to sully his ‘good’ name. It’s a Guy RIchie film so there are lots of little stories going on with each character and we get to know each of them in interesting ways. Overall the story is pretty straightforward.
Why you should watch or not watch it:
As of this writing the Tomatometer had it at 73%, Metacritic was at 51% and IMDB was at 81%. And I generally agree that it was a good movie but the overall feeling for me was boredom. I’d recommend a watch if you like a good crime movie, just don’t expect much.
Compared to past Guy Richie films this one felt underwhelming. Maybe because Guy Richie himself is a big wig now, but a focus on characters and settings that are very fancy and upper class rather than the underdogs I used to cheer for kept me from getting invested. I just don’t care as much about a guy trying to make a deal for billions of dollars. Now a movie with a focus on Colin Farell and his gym ‘thugs’? Now that would be entertaining!