The Gentlemen Review: Embarrassing Misconceptions of
“Sweet Old Mary Jane” Trade
Written by Ben Sanderson
Every film I’ve seen this year bar Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw (well, I don’t think Dwayne Johnson does it for the accolades) and The Gentlemen has been an awards season darling, and deservedly so (1917, Knives Out, Le Mans ’66, Joker and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood).
There is good reason for The Gentlemen not to join this prestigious list. Whether it was the utterly ridiculous nature of the story – falsely elevating the role that marijuana plays in drug crime and disastrously misunderstand youth crime, marijuana dealing, or Hugh Grant’s cringe-inducing “mockney” accent (I’ve never been a fan of “mockney”, even less so when done by a rich actor who’s a regular in films about rich people). The Gentlemen is a pretty corny, sloppy farce.
The film centres around middle-aged marijuana kingpin Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) who is trying to sell his drug empire off to retire to be with his wife (Michelle Dockery). There begins a massive fight, which involves theft, murder and attempted rape, all for the sake of haggling. The very idea that such a thing could happen over marijuana is absurd in its absolute definition.
Drug wars happen over cocaine, heroin, other opioids and anything the authorities give two dimes about. Imagine Pablo Escobar even lifting a finger over weed, let alone becoming the subject of a US manhunt and much-loved TV series overselling it.
The Gentlemen hence has a ridiculous plot – which is neither absurdly good nor so downright bad that it achieves hilarity (kudos, of course, to The Room!)
Its all-star cast, featuring Colin Farrell, Charlie Hunnam and Eddie Marsan with Grant and McConaughey, do not help it much. If anything, they detracted from it. It all just seems like a “luvvie” get-together full of established actors who enjoyed the opportunity to be in a film they didn’t have to test themselves in.
The same goes for director Guy Ritchie, who developed this film in a similar style to his classics, such as 2000’s Snatch. Unlike Snatch, it’s lost the avant-garde charm as it’s been done a lot before, especially by Ritchie himself.
And don’t get me started on the humour – failing to incorporate bestiality humour into a film in a hilarious way is a feat in itself. I gave it a few giggles, I guess.
The saving grace is that I saw this film with a friend and talked about how corny it was throughout, which significantly improved my viewing experience, and leaves me to give it, under the circumstances, a fairly lenient rating. If you love watching bad films with a friend, The Gentlemen may just be the film for you. If you want to watch it in the hope of watching a good film, don’t waste your time.