The Gentlemen Movie Review: Tiresome grandstanding

Updated: 30 January, 2020 16:06 IST | Johnson Thomas | Mumbai

While The Gentlemen has a juicy finger-lick worthy cast, there's not enough of the usual frenetic, shock-worthy action that has become Guy Ritchie's signature of late.

A still from The Gentlemen
A still from The Gentlemen

The Gentlemen
U/A; Action, Crime
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Henry Golding, Hugh Grant, Jeremy Strong, Brittany Ashworth
Director: Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie's return to the British 'Gentlemanly' underworld might have been long-awaited, but it's certainly not as fruitful as expected. While this film has a juicy finger-lick worthy cast, there's not enough of the usual frenetic, shock-worthy action that has become Ritchie's signature of late. In this film he appears to be setting up a rather verbose bait for what is to come... but it takes so long in coming that by the time it comes, you are already too deadened to appreciate it.

The main construct, that of using one of the main players, a conniving, unscrupulous Private detective Fletcher (Hugh Grant) to glory in narrating this tall tale replete with exaggerations and embellishments as he goes about trying to blackmail the rivals in the marijuana business so that he can make a quick big buck before the business gets legal (which everybody knows obviously), is so ridiculous that it feels like a hallucination. Fletcher also happens to be an aspiring screenplay writer whose expose is titled 'BUSH' a sort of euphemism for the substance that appears to get everyone going crazy in laidback style.

Watch The Gentlemen Trailer:

American expat Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) has built a highly profitable marijuana empire in London, which he is looking to cash-out of before the trade gets legal. So it was expected that plots, schemes, bribery and blackmail would come into play as attempts to steal his biz follow that obvious set-up.

Granted, the marijuana trade is a complicated one, but Guy Ritchie did not have to tell it if he couldn't break it down to some semblance of coherence. For much of the film, you get conversations (in stiff upper lip English) that bounce off you without registering. So when the action comes you are already so disconnected that you wonder what's happening.

The play is on the script within a script construct, which seems so gimmicky that it fails to gather interest along the way to its deceptive conclusion. The running jokes about funny-sounding Asian names, anti-Semitic in-jokes and stereotype characters here are pretty much in bad taste and not that funny either. We know Ritchie is aiming for sarcasm here but the film's baggage of abrasive puns, shuns and ribbing amounts to such a tired telling that it feels entirely demotivating.

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First Published: 30 January, 2020 16:00 IST

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