Slick crime films with all the British flair possible has always been Guy Ritchie’s forte as a director. With this film he brings his usual flair but infuses this story with just enough intriguing twists and turns that you are truly surprised by the end, and just want to watch the story even longer. I am a huge fan of Snatch (2000), Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), and even his Sherlock Holmes films (2009 & 2011) he did extremely well. This film will easily be considered one of his best. With this film they get the story and pacing right, and therefore this is a Writing a Movie ‘RIGHT’ review.
Here come the spoilers.
Opening with a bang, The Gentlemen shows us our main protagonist of Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) as he is shot in the head at a pub. We jump back to the past so we know we are watching events that will lead us up to this fate. Mickey want to sell his business to Matthew Berger and retire with his wife Rosalind. Matthew tries to sabotage Mickey’s operations to lower the value of the deal. A private investigator named Fletcher, played wonderfully by Hugh Grant, visits Mickey’s right-hand man, Raymond (Charlie Hunnam), to try to sell what he knows of Mickey for a large sum of money. Most of the film’s narrative is told from Fletcher’s point of view with Raymond correcting some of the missed details along the way.
A mix of characters enter the story with Chinese Drug Boss Lord George, his underboss Dry Eye (Henry Golding), Coach (Colin Farrell), a Royal Duke, Tabloid Editor named Big Dave, and more punch up a very nicely layered story. These characters are all given just the right amount of setup and time to let them be effective in the overall narrative. As the story weaves and weaves towards catching us up to the present moment where our film first started at, we get the reveal that Mickey is not dead. Now the film takes us on a fast track for a second climax which is where the director brilliantly surprises us with a second climax. Mickey reveals to Berger that he knows he was behind everything and he will complete their deal and pay in flesh as well. As Mickey leaves a loose story end comes to the surface and we get a double ambush with a slight cliffhanger ending where we cut to Fletcher pitching the story as a film idea. Very meta on the writer’s behalf. Simply brilliant writing on display here.
Solid storylines and interesting and unique characters make this film one that begs to be watched again and again. Take note writers that this is the kind of layered storytelling that all films should aspire to. Guy Ritchie has once again shown us his flair and storytelling brilliance and I for one look forward to what he does next.
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