If you’re thinking of seeing the new Guy Ritchie movie, The Gentlemen, then do yourself a favour and book your tickets now. But a warning – if you’re going to do it for date night, see the movie first. You’ll have plenty to talk about over dinner and won’t be sitting through the movie with a belly full of food and a bladder full of booze while you try to concentrate on what comes next!
Written and directed by Ritchie, from a story he wrote in conjunction with Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies, I had no idea what to expect from The Gentlemen – other than that it should be entertaining, and probably a bit violent – but I wasn’t disappointed.
The first 20 minutes required a little bit of work – I wasn’t quite sure what was going on or who was who and so had to focus to get my head around the characters and how they inter-related, but after a while I settled into the ‘story-within-a-story’ concept and the bits started to fall into place.
This is a movie which helps actors break out from prior roles. In particular, I think Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey and Alice Fletcher from Godless) and Henry Golding (Nick Young from Crazy Rich Asians and a presenter on BBC’s The Travel Show) would have had great fun trying out their different dialects, clothing styles and new personalities as they developed their roles. And that was something I really enjoyed about this movie – the way all the actors seemed to enjoy their roles, to relish in them. If the actors aren’t making it look like work, then the whole package is more fun to watch!
A few other things I enjoyed about The Gentlemen:
- The business concepts (naturally! 😉 ) and the creative way Matthew McConaughey’s character managed to solve a problem for the financially-distraught upper-class.
- Hugh Grant’s dialect and wonderfully naughty gay character – this is Grant at his best.
- Hearing Lady Mary use the c-word. That was worth the ticket price alone!
- Playing ‘spot the star’ in the rest of the cast: Colin Farrell was his usual brilliant self, and his character was also unexpectedly warm and caring. It was funny hearing Eddie Marsan from Ray Donovan speaking in a British accent – but what I’ve since found out is that he actually is British! Things you learn, huh? Jeremy Strong was familiar, too – turns out I’d seen him in The Big Short. There were other familiar faces but with such a large cast, I could be researching forever!
- Watching Charlie Hunnam’s character slowly reveal itself. I’ve not seen Hunnam in anything before, but really enjoyed his performance and hope to see him in something again soon.
- Eliot Sumner’s small but haunting role as the drug-dependent daughter of an aristocrat. I couldn’t work out why Sumner seemed familiar, but a chance pop-up on Wikipedia reveals she’s the youngest child of Sting and Trudy Styler, which explains the familiar cheekbones.
- The variety of the various support roles and the cast who played them.
- The use of Cumberland Gap by David Rawlings as the backing music in the opening scenes. This is one of my 2019 Spotify discoveries and to recognise it as it kicked the movie off was such a buzz! It felt totally inappropriate being about a place in the US when the movie was set in the UK, and yet there’s something about its wild west reference that reflected the theme of this movie perfectly.
- The wonderful homage to the very first episode of Black Mirror.
- The humour – with onscreen writing to help explain things (such as ‘Mossad Crabs’ and maps of the UK placed over maps of the US and Canada), bodies in freezers, Hugh Grant’s passes at Charlie Hunnam’s character, Michelle Dockery teetering on heels slightly shorter than circus stilts, the comedic violence – not all laugh-out-loud stuff, but you’ve got to have your comedy in different strengths, otherwise it just gets tiring.
- The way the story’s winner won the day. We don’t all win because of hard work or the choices we make. Sometimes we wouldn’t be where we are if fate didn’t lend a hand – one way or the other.
Things that I didn’t enjoy about The Gentlemen:
- Can’t actually think of anything …
So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now and enjoy the ride that is The Gentlemen. And get yourself familiar with Dave Rawlings’ awesome Cumberland Gap in the meantime:
Opinionated blogging – and movie reviewing. It’s at the top of the page. 😉