The Gentlemen movie review: A testosterone-fueled romp

Shalini Langer
The Gentlemen review

The Gentlemen movie review: The Gentlemen can’t stop being about the men.

The Gentlemen movie cast: Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Jeremy Strong, Henry Golding
The Gentlemen movie director: Guy Ritchie
The Gentlemen movie rating: 2 stars

Since it is a Guy Ritchie film, there are a lot of gangsters in varied accents running around good, old England. However, at the heart of it, the posh men, and lords and dukes etc of this film are all running around a small matter here which, in the Ritchie world they inhabit, they should actually be too cool to dirty their hands over.

And since it is a Ritchie film, written and directed by him, there is nothing simple about it, small as it may be. Let’s give it a shot: one American, Michael (McConaughey), who has made his way into England high society by way of a Rhodes scholarship, has since made more use of it to build a marijuana business. Now into middle age, he wants to sell it to another American, Mathews (Strong), who is driving a hard bargain. Michael has a loyal muscleman called Ray (Hunnam), who one night is visited by a snoop, Fletcher (Grant, in full de Niro mode, with slicked hair, dark glasses, leather jacket and turtle neck). Fletcher blackmails Ray for lots of millions or he would turn over material gathered by him on Ray and his boss to a sleazy editor. Somewhere, somehow — one suspects because Farrell is so good at this — Ritchie gets that mercurial actor to pitch in as an unnecessary sideshow.

A lot of wheels move, grinding, sliding against each other, the crux of which is that old world gangsters in suits are better than young bums in bad hoodies; that the old world men dealt in honour, love, loyalty and “good” marijuana, while the new guys (Russians, ‘Chinamen’) have no qualms about heroin or human trafficking; that when men puffed in earlier times, they bonded, now they just wallow in “white man’s guilt”; and that media is nothing but a bunch of sleazy guys.

Grant is so different that he takes you by surprise, Farrell hams it with a dizzyingly dulled down wardrobe, while Hunnam has the meatiest lines and part. McConaughey looks simply bored, as if too good for a role whose only requirement is having fun.

The greatest injustice though is suffered by Dockery. As Michael’s beloved wife Rosalind, she seems she can slay enemies and friends alike with just the cut of her accent and her tailored wardrobe. She runs a garage of own, and handles ruffians with more panache than all the men out there. The Gentlemen though can’t stop being about the men.