Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) has built a multi-million pound cannabis empire, and used it to ingratiate his way into British high society. But with legalisation on the horizon, Mickey's looking to sell up and retire, spend some time with the wife. The problem is word of Mickey's plans have got out, and the vultures are circling. Can the gentleman drug dealer keep his empire intact long enough to find a buyer?
Guy Ritchie returns to the genre that made him with a movie that puts a hilarious - and not entirely unbelievable - spin on the British upper class. Told mostly through flashback, and from the point of view of Fletcher, a sleazy private investigator played by Hugh Grant in a show stealing performance. Very different from the type of character we're used to seeing Grant play, Fletcher is by far the best thing about The Gentlemen. Something of an unreliable narrator - he is prone to flashes of "artistic license" - his attempts to liven up the story only make him more fun. I could listen to him tell stories of the criminal underworld all day long.
The Gentlemen may be similar in nature to Ritchie's previous forays into the criminal underworld, but it's at the other end of the scale, more up-market. Many of the major players even dress like hipsters, but they're still the deranged and delightfully foul-mouthed low-lives a Guy Ritchie movie is known for - thanks in no small part to some brilliant performances from a very colourful cast. Calamity ensues as these loveable low-lives run amok around London, either fighting for what's theirs or trying to take from someone else...or both. And things only get worse - or more hysterical depending on your point of view - as events draw the many factions ever closer to a major conflict. Finding the hilarity in what would realistically be terrifying is something Ritchie does very well.
It is unfortunate then, that where Lock Stock and Snatch had an air of unpredictability about them, The Gentlemen can at times be a tad formulaic. That's not to say that the movie doesn't have a few surprises up its sleeve. But figuring out who is actually manipulating events doesn't take much effort, and it's easy to see where the plot is headed. Thankfully this is offset by the sheer amount of fun you'll have whilst watching it.
Guy Ritchie's decision to return to the comedy crime drama is most definitely a welcome one. I mean it's worth it for the dialogue alone! Despite a predictable plot, The Gentlemen is another hysterical dive into the British criminal underworld. If you're a fan of the "Toff Guy's" previous works, you'll undoubtedly love this.
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