The Gentleman (2020)

“If you wish to be the king of the jungle, it’s not enough to act like a king. You must be the king. There can be no doubt. Because doubt causes chaos and one’s own demise.”“If you wish to be the king of the jungle, it’s not enough to act like a king. You must be the king. There can be no doubt. Because doubt causes chaos and one’s own demise.”

“If you wish to be the king of the jungle, it’s not enough to act like a king. You must be the king. There can be no doubt. Because doubt causes chaos and one’s own demise.”

Don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years, he just is returning to form from the days of Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Taking some time off from the complex storytelling and hyper violent activity of these characters to put out a couple big time Sherlock Holmes films and the live action Aladdin, Guy Ritchie returns to the storytelling he does best. When the trailer hit late 2019, this style of storytelling looked revamped and fresh compared to the former but leave it to Ritchie to add the same gritty, fast paced plot heavy story of gangsters being gangsters.

This is the first big hit of 2020 starting the year off in a that has a ton of promise. If all goes right, we could be looking at a year that could rival 2019, because in all honestly 2019 was a hell of a year for movies. 2020 as it turns out is not the case as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Hollywood causing theatergoers everywhere (including myself) to cry out in agony. Luckily, The Gentleman was able to release before the stay-at-home orders ever took effect and was able to make a good chunk of money.

At a party, a high powered editor Big Dave gets snubbed for a handshake by a man named Mickey Pearson. Big Dave hires a private investigator named Fletcher to look into Parson’s drug empire and connect links Pearson has to a Royal Duke Lord Pressfield. Mickey, an American has worked his way up from poverty to be granted a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University. While at Oxford, he begins to sell weed to his classmates tapping into his entrepreneurial spirit. He drops out of Oxford to grow his drug empire. After spending a couple decades growing his lucrative drug empire, Mickey is looking to sell his business to a billionaire Matthew for $400 M so he can retire with his wife.

One of the selling points is seeing the location of one of Pearson’s labs where the cannabis is being grown. Mickey’s labs are under the estates of all the lords of England and in turn the profit helps the upkeep of those estates. Mickey takes a meeting with a gangster that goes by the name Dry Eye. Dry Eye is an underboss for a gangster Lord George. Dry Eye pitches a sale to buy Mickey’s business but Mickey refuses. The same lab that Mickey shows off to Matthew gets raided by amateur MMA fighters who make a rap video of the brawl while stealing some weed in the process.

A man that only goes by Coach (Colin Farrell) learns that it was his guys that did the raid and orders the fighters to return what they stole after learning who’s weed it was. Mickey (Matthew McConaughey) visits Lord Pressfield (Samuel West) agreeing to rescue his daughter Laura (Eliot Sumner) from a group of thugs. Mickey tasks Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) with the rescue. Raymond’s associates gets into a brawl and a flatmate of Laura’s, gets pushed out the window to his death. Raymond pays a visit to Coach who apologizes foe what his students have done and offers their services as penance.

Turns out Coach has captured one of Dye Eye’s (Henry Golding) henchman Phuc (Jason Wong) and Phuc gives Coach and Raymond the info on who informed Coach’s crew of the lab. When Mickey learns of who sent the men, he visits Lord George (Tom Wu), threatening him while destroying one of his drug labs in retaliation. Lord George confronts Dry Eye about the attack and offering to buy Mickey’s business outright. George gives the order to execute Dry Eye, but the henchman executes George instead. Mickey is informed that Matthew (Jeremy Strong) has been plotting behind his back with Dry Eye to cause a disturbance in Mickey’s business to drive down the asking price.

Dry Eye, now holding the power attempts to kidnap Mickey’s wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery) but she shoots his two men with the Derringer paperweight that holds two bullets. Raymond murders an assassin out to kill Mickey. Mickey and Raymond race to the body shop killing Dry Eye as has Rosalind pinned down. As one of the penance’s, Coach’s students kidnap Big Dave (Eddie Marsan). They drug him and blackmail him performing an unspeakable act to get Big Dave to drop the investigation.  Mickey and Matthew meet at a frozen fish plant which is a cover for Mickey’s actual business. Mickey informs Matthew of everything he knows including the destruction Matthew caused to bring down the sale price to $130 Million.

Mickey refuses the new offer showing Matthew Dye Eye’s body in the back of a freezer. Matthew’s price for causing this is to pay Mickey $270 Million and take a pound of flesh off his body for the attempted rape. Fletcher (Hugh Grant) brings all of this to Raymond who in turn admits to Fletcher that he has been tailing Fletcher all along. Fletcher reveals he sold all of this information to a former KGB agent who’s son was thrown out of the window. Coach kills two Russians sneaking into Raymond’s yard, Fletcher runs away. Mickey gets picked up by two Russians at the same time that Coach assassinates the others. Mickey is saved by the students who open fire on the two Russian agents allowing Mickey to escape.

This was going to be my first film of the year I would go to, but life happens, and I never saw it. Once it hit digital platforms, (I buy all my movies digitally now, saves a ton of space) I bought it but only just now got the chance to watch it. You can’t help but wonder how this film is pulled off with so many moving pieces and so many different plot points to cover. Ritchie is a master at the films he makes. The Gentleman is easier to follow than the previous Snatch and Lock, Stock. The storytelling is cleaner and is easier to follow. There are times the accents of the characters can take you out of the movie where focusing on that the story gets lost.

The pacing and run time are excellent as they coincide perfectly with one another. Any longer, and the film would feel dragged out. Ritchie knows how long his story should be and finds a way to stay within those boundaries.  Charlie Hunnam is the standout in this all-star cast. Not putting anyone else down at all the cast does a fantastic job. Charlie is able to pull off playing that level headed character that unless provoked can switch on a dime and go nuclear on a group of thugs who think their tough for not handing over a cell phone. He portrays his obsessive compulsive disorder with subtlety with visible ticks.

Some of the violence can seem unrealistic at points throughout, its hard to imagine someone going to cut a pound of flesh off of themselves to pay up for causing so much mayhem, I highly doubt I’m anyone would do this willingly. The story as a whole could have used a lot less C*** words, Is that really how people across the pond talk? Even if these archetype people don’t exist in this capacity, they’re lives are completely stylized but still entertaining to watch.

The cinematography work is pretty decent as there is no evidence of any camera shakes while action sequences play out (especially with the abundance of chase scenes on foot). Hugh Grant is brilliant in his role of Fletcher. He narrates the story with such enthusiasm that he believes he has the one up on Raymond but never actually does. Raymond is smarter and more cunning than Fletcher and Raymond proves that at the end of the film. The story line is rich with characters and their motivations are actually legitimate. This film is just another notch in the Mcconausance belt as he puts in an incredible effort as Mickey. McConaughey’s dialogue is the best in the film and his delivery couldn’t be more spot on. If I were to rate The Gentleman, I’d rate it a 3.85 out of 5.  

So, tell me guys, have you seen The Gentleman and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.

The Gentleman is written and directed by Guy Ritchie is Rated PG-13 and has a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Gentleman was released on January 24th, 2020 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 53 minutes. The Gentleman can be bought online by retailers including Vudu, Google and Itunes.

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