This gangster movie is both splashy and posh. No low-life thugs here, rather the cardigan-wearing upper crust of the criminal underworld. The gentlemen, indeed. With Guy Ritchie in the director’s chair, this translates to bloodshed over very expensive glasses of scotch and some ruined Louboutin heels.
The story is a bit of a tangle, especially since it’s told to us by blackmailer extraordinaire, Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who’s written a screenplay based on the dirty deeds he’s witnessed. He recounts it to Ray (Charlie Hunnam) with a certain amount of glee, Ray being Mickey’s right hand man, and Mickey (Matthew McConaughey) being the undisputed weed king of London. His drug empire is vast and highly profitable but he’s looking to sell and take early retirement, which means several of London’s rival gangs have been sniffing around his business. This includes Matthew (Jeremy Strong), a multi-millionaire looking to diversify, and Dry Eye (Henry Golding),a young mobster trying to make a name for himself.
If you can keep it all straight, the action’s actually quite a lot of fun, particularly with the addition of Coach (Colin Farrell). I was never 100% clear on who he is in the world, but he’s trained up a bunch of young men who choreograph elaborate fight-dances and them put them on Youtube. Except one time they go behind his back and hold up the wrong marijuana farm. Coach is furious, but he’s smart. He goes to Mickey directly to make amends, offering his services, and you bet they’ll be used.
And I haven’t even mentioned the bestiality, the insanely gorgeous wardrobe, the beautiful chrome-shifting car, the steak of questionable provenance, or the scene that makes “projectile vomiting” an extreme understatement.
While this may not be a Great Film, it is an extremely fun one. McConaughey is self-assured, Hunnam is commanding, and Grant all but steals the show. He does a flawless accent and doesn’t at all sound like himself. He’s a skeevy little rat trying to get a bigger piece of the cheese and it’s actually a lot of fun to watch him stroke his whiskers in greedy anticipation.
Despite some flaws, The Gentlemen is flashy and stylish, with director Ritchie flexing some real zeal.