The Gentlemen – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fascinating and engaging story filled with great performances and many yikes moments     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

TL;DR – A fascinating and engaging story filled with great performances and many yikes moments     

The Gentlemen. Image Credit: STXfilms.


When you sign up to watch a Guy Ritchie film, you sort of know what you are going to get yourself into as he has a very specific style. It is one that is a very flash in the pan, but with a lot more substance than similar filmmakers. On the whole, I do tend to enjoy his style of filmmaking and the stories he focuses on because at the very least they will be entertaining. Well let’s dive into his latest that I was not able to catch in cinemas given ‘waves hands around’, but I am looking forward to now.     

So to set the scene, we open with Michael ‘Mickey’ Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) walking into a pub he owns ordering a pint and a pickled egg and phoning his wife Rosalind ‘Ros’ Pearson (Michelle Dockery). Only to find out there is someone unknown in the house with her which is just the moment that someone puts a bullet in the back of his head. Jump to Raymond ‘Ray’ Smith (Charlie Hunnam) arriving at his home only to find general sleazeball and private instigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) waiting for him with a story and a demand for 20 million dollars. A tale of a bad man who wants to get into the world of legitimacy from a world of danger and it goes about as well as you can expect.      

The Gentlemen. Image Credit: STXfilms.
This film is bonkers from start to finish. Image Credit: STXfilms.

The one thing this film is, it is unashamedly and profoundly British. Like it does not care one iota about making its language easy to parse for an international audience; this is even before it goes on literature deep dives like into how old film used to be made. There is one moment when they do subtitle a single line of slang, but that’s it. Thankfully some British ancestry and many family BBQs, as well as years of watching British films, meant I could follow on with about 70% of the references and slang. However, I am not sure how someone who has no experience in this would do. Also, a lot of the language used is quite erotic (intentionally or otherwise) at times which creates some interesting moments indeed.         

Where I think you will get into the grove of this film or be put off is through its structure. The film is built around a conversation between Ray and Fletcher as Fletcher gives up all the dirt he has to blackmail Mickey. This means that we jump from the night to the events as they … well maybe played out. Because we are working from snippets of information, supposition and misdirection, there is a massive, unreliable narrator vibe to all the scenes set in the past. It also gets very meta at times. The film sometimes calls these out and sometimes lets them stand, and you will find this fascinating or frustrating. For me, it was fascinating, even with the unnecessary in media res at the start. It also deploys a particular editing style that jumps from frenetic cuts to more sombre pacing that I quite liked, but it is not going to be for everyone.

The Gentlemen. Image Credit: STXfilms.
The story pulled me through this weird world of gangsters and betrayal. Image Credit: STXfilms.

For me, what ties this whole film together is that the entire cast is just chewing the scenery in every scene. The back and forth banter between Ray and Fletcher is a joy to watch as you try to work out who is playing who. You have Hugh Grant swinging for the fences and Charlie Hunnam’s calm composure that controls the room. You have Eddie Marsan going for broke in every scene in one of his grimiest roles to date, can someone ley play a good guy for once that lives to the end of the film. Matthew McConaughey is swinging wildly from calm to manic in a moment, Michelle Dockery being the clam don-mess-with-me centre to it all, and Henry Golding playing many different versions of the same character. It is the cast that sells this film and its craziness.       

I do have to say that the one thing that holds this film back for me is the many ‘yikes’ moments that just get thrown in there for no reason. There are a lot of moments where the film punches down with its humour, and while it may sort of be contextual given the circumstances, it still feels woefully out of place. A key moment of which is where Fletcher uses a very fake and stereotypical Asian accent to describe Dry Eye (Henry Golding) which was neither needed nor helped the scene in any way and just ripped me out of the moment. Also, the film feels like it has something to say about class but never quite gets around to firming what it actually wants to say.

The Gentlemen. Image Credit: STXfilms.
All the cast is swinging for the fences or at least chewing the scenery. Image Credit: STXfilms.

In the end, do we recommend The Gentlemen? Well, yes, but with a couple of caveats. First, this is a particular style with a lot of violence and cursing, so that is not going to be for everyone. Also, with those yikes moments, your mileage may vary as to whether they just rip you out of the film or if they derail it entirely for you. I have to say that I was on board with this film even before it dropped a nice The Man from U.N.C.L.E. reference which one I would 100% recommend if you liked this film and two can we get a sequel to that already.

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched The Gentlemen?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias, and you can follow us
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Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Gentlemen
Directed by
– Guy Ritchie
Story by – Guy Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson & Bill Block
Screenplay by – Guy Ritchie
Music by – Christopher Benstead
Cinematography by – Alan Stewart
Edited by – James Herbert
Production/Distribution Companies – Miramax & STXfilms
Starring – Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant, Chidi Ajufo, Jason Wong, Brittany Ashworth, Samuel West, Eliot Sumner, Lyne Renée, Chris Evangelou, Franz Drameh, Bugzy Malone, Tom Wu & John Dagleish                 
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: R; United Kingdom: 18; United States: R

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