Guy Ritchie’s latest “Snatch” doesn’t go “Up in Smoke.”
When you see a British crime film that excessively curses and morphs the violence with comedy, you’re probably in for a good time or a bad time. In Guy Ritchie’s “The Gentlemen,” I was mostly in for a good time. It uses Ritchie’s usual stylish ambitions and choice of actors to keep things rolling along without them feeling oblivious or predictable. I like these certain elements, and it brings us back to some of the director’s earlier films like “Snatch” and “RocknRolla.”
As usual with a Guy Ritchie crime noir, the story in “The Gentlemen” gets convoluted with the British-English dialogue and money games, but I did my best to jot down what I can. I’m not trying to offend anyone; I just wanted to make sure I understood the premise. But I more into the energy and direction of his latest entry.
We meet an American businessman named Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), who runs a marijuana empire in the United Kingdom. He uses his charismatic attitude and persistent manner to get to the top, although he’s planning to retire from the game. One of his farms gets attacked by video bloggers who use it for what they call “fight porn,” and he decides to close shop.
The all-star cast also consists of Charlie Hunnam as Mickey’s right-hand-man Raymond; Hugh Grant (with a rougher voice) as a tabloid reporter, who treats the film’s story as his own screenplay; Michelle Dockery as Mickey’s charming wife; Jeremy Strong (reuniting with McConaughey from the dreadful “Serenity”) as his would-be American investor; Henry Golding as the antagonist Dry Eye, who plans to buy his company; Colin Farrell as an Irish boxing coach, whose students were the ones who violated the farm; and Eddie Marsan as a tabloid editor.
The movie also provides some fun and wacky moments. The best in particular are when Raymond chases some hooligans for taking pictures of a Russian lad, who fell from a window, and demanding their cell phones; when Mickey makes an Asian businessman vomit by spiking his drink; and when the lad who revealed the vandalized weed farm’s location runs away, falls on the railway tracks, and gets run over. But they’re nothing compared to what happens off-screen later. Its sense of humor is wickedly funny.
I’ve also enjoyed the acting from McConaughey, Hunnam, Golding, and Grant, because of how each of them take risks in their character developments. McConaughey has fun with the notion of being an international pot billionaire planning to call it quits to settle down with his wife; Hunnam delivers some entertaining moments, like the cell-phone chase I’ve mentioned; it’s interesting to see Golding portraying a villain for a change; and Grant delivers the goods with his voice and ability to splice movies with reality.
I’d be lying if I knew what the whole story was about. I mean, after all, Ritchie has his ways with crime and dialogue. But if you read between the lines, you might find a dangerous, silly, and stylish thriller. “The Gentlemen” is that thriller. Depending on your perspectives, you may or may not appreciate it. In my opinion, I do.
Opens Everywhere January 24