Movie Guru: Guy Ritchie delivers a classic Guy Ritchie movie with ‘The Gentlemen’
Editor’s note: This film is not currently showing at the Riverwalk of Edwards, CineBistro in Vail or Capitol Theater in Eagle.
With director Guy Ritchie, you know you’re going to get rapid-fire dialogue, a particularly self-aware kind of wit, a healthy dose of violence, and a whimsically complicated plot. If you’re watching one of his British crime movies, you know there will also be a ton of swearing and a decent number of corpses. It’s a very specific flavor of film, and you probably know going in whether or not you like it.
If you do, then you’re definitely going to want to watch “The Gentlemen.” The movie marks Ritchie’s return to the crime genre after more than a decade away, and it’s clear he’s having fun going back to his roots. The plot is satisfyingly complicated, full of Ritchie’s trademark humor and twists that actually make sense to the larger story. There’s also plenty of grit and violence, all of it wrapped in a self-aware package that teeters over the line of being too kitschy but ends up landing just right. It’s not the greatest Guy Ritchie movie ever made, but it’s an entertaining return to form.
Though telling you too much about the movie would spoil it, I will say that it revolves around a British drug lord trying to sell his empire so he can go legitimate. Naturally, this turns out to be a not-so-easy process, complicated by the presence of people trying to take his empire by force, thieves, traitors, and a particularly inconvenient private investigator. Will he, or anyone else involved in all this, make it out alive?
The movie is framed in large part as a story a private investigator is telling someone after breaking into his home late at night. Sometimes this works out beautifully, since Hugh Grant is particularly good as an extremely sleazy private investigator with questionable loyalties. Other times, however, it’s one too many levels of framework that distracts from the main story.
That distraction slows down some of the early parts of the story, but it’s a joy to watch once it gets bouncing. The movie is great at dodging right when you think it will go left, and there are a couple of chase scenes that manage to be both comedic and just a little scary. It really rewards you at the end, where all the plot threads come together and deliver a kinetic, deeply satisfying finish.
Matthew McConaughey is best when he gets a little feral, and Charlie Hunnam does a great job holding the audience’s attention every moment the movie focuses on him. Probably the best thing about the movie, however, is Colin Farrell’s Coach. He’s only a supporting character who gets dragged in somewhat against his will, but his entire involvement in the movie is an absolute treat.
If you’re a fan of Ritchie’s crime movies, the entire movie fits into that category. The man knows what he likes, and trusts that his audiences do as well.
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.