REVIEW: Underneath the glitz and glamour, ‘The Gentlemen’ is empty

Few movies get as smug and full of itself as director Guy Ritchie’s new feature “The Gentlemen.”

The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson. Mickey is the kingpin of a crime organization that grows marijuana in the United Kingdom on land owned by wealthy British citizens. After building his empire up, though, Mickey is looking to get out of the “business” and settle down.

To do so, Mickey is holding meetings with Matthew (Jeremy Strong), a wealthy interested party. However, one night, a tabloid journalist named Fletcher (Hugh Grant) introduces information to Mickey’s right hand man Ray (Charlie Hunnam) that could throw a wrench in the situation.

“The Gentlemen” is a film that thinks it’s smarter than it really is. The movie’s script, also by Ritchie, is way too overwritten and punched up with edgy dialogue and smarmy characters. When all is said and done, though, it doesn’t really mean anything.

The film is so lacking in depth or insight with both its characters and narrative. Now, in all fairness it’s not like a movie needs to particularly deep in some genres, but when a movie tries to come across so clever, one would expect something less shallow.

Courtesy STXFilms and Miramax

There is some intrigue just in terms of how these people in underground professions may double cross one another, but there’s so little emotional investment here and very few engaging moments.

While the movie boasts an impressive cast, the characters they portray don’t help things much. McConaughey’s strong screen presence and charm is hindered here by the rather generic gangster character he’s playing.

Strong, meanwhile, gives a weird performance seemingly just for the sake of being weird, while Hunnam is kind basically a standard second in command type. Worst of all, though, is Grant’s character. He’s written to come across as just so edgy and cool, but it ends up being lame.

It’s also unfortunate that the only female character Rosalind, played by Michelle Dockery, is wasted here. She doesn’t get involved in the film much until the end when the character is used as a plot device that includes attempted rape.

Colin Farrell comes in the second act and his character is probably the only one who actually has some meaning. However, he remains very much a secondary character.

Ritchie’s latest film is a rather forgettable piece. It’s competently made and features a strong cast that at least makes it watchable, but it just feels so hollow and the script tries way too hard. 2.0 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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