It's been a while since I posted on here. Job hunting stress and writers' block often go hand in hand. With this in mind, I decided to do another film review. A while back, I did reviews of Guy Ritchie's London gangster films; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. The other night, I checked out his more recent entry in that genre; The Gentlemen.
Matthew McConaughey plays Mickey Pearson, an American expatriate living in London who operates a large cannabis empire. He's also a high society figure, who maintains a strong relationship with members of the English aristocracy (he hides his labs on their estates in exchange for paying their upkeep). He seeks to retire from a life of crime and sell his business to Matthew Berger, an American billionaire played by Jeremy Strong. Things get complicated when Dry Eye, a Chinese gangster played by Henry Golding, learns that Mickey's getting out and seeks to buy him out. After Mickey refuses, one of his labs is raided by a gang of MMA fighters and rappers known as "The Toddlers". Mickey has also made an enemy of Big Dave, a tabloid editor played by Eddie Marsan, after publicly refusing to shake his hand at a black tie event. Dave hires Fletcher, a private investigator played by Hugh Grant, to investigate Mickey's aristocratic connections. Fletcher then offers to sell his findings to Raymond Smith, Mickey's second-in-command played by Charlie Hunnam. Their meeting serves as a framing story for the rest of the film.
Once again, this film employs an impressive array of characters which provides a ton of great dialogue. Mickey is suave and charismatic, but does show his ruthless side at times. Fletcher's sleaziness gives him some great back and forth with the more straight-laced Raymond. Michelle Dockery plays Mickey's wife Rosalind, who runs a garage that serves as one of Mickey's fronts, but is just as streetwise as he is. Big Dave is obnoxious (evidently someone in the crew hates tabloids), but it's great to see him get his just desserts (with a certain nursery rhyme I'll never look at the same way again).
If there's anybody who steals the show, it's Colin Farrell as The Coach. He's a gym owner who serves as a mentor to the Toddlers, but tries to keep his hands clean of criminal activity. Nevertheless, when the Toddlers steal Mickey's cannabis, he tries to protect them by offering his services to Raymond. He also gets all the best lines. He needed a lot more screen time.
In one subplot, Mickey is asked by one of his aristocratic friends to recover his daughter from a group of heroin addicts she's fallen in with. Raymond is reluctant to embark on the mission, harbouring a strong prejudice against heroin users. It creates a tense scene as he meets with the addicts. He attempts to retain a veneer of pleasantry, but you get the idea he's trying not to lose it.
If there's anything I do have to criticise, there's one plot element which stems from this which doesn't seem to get resolved. I can't really talk about it here due to spoilers, but it does provide an interesting "butterfly effect" vibe. Nevertheless, it's a loose end which doesn't get tied off.
All in all, it's a funny story about how it's not easy to leave some lives. It's currently available on Netflix, and I highly recommend you check it out.