Guy Ritchie’s new gangster comedy “The Gentlemen” is clever, exuberant and sometimes criminally funny—in fact, it’s the most consistently enjoyable new film of 2020.
I know it’s early yet, but I do think you’ll have a fine time at this flicker. The premise has London-based marijuana mogul Matthew McConaghey (who began as an American lad at Oxford supplying demon weed to his fellow students and embraced the means to expand his enterprise into an empire) seeking to retire and sell his business at a fair price to the highest bidder. Of course what appears like it will be a smooth transition sets off a chain of escalating events involving rival racketeers, amateur boxers, slimy publishers, and a likably sleazy private investigator (Hugh Grant, in top form and coming close to stealing the film) who would like to profit from what he knows.
If you’re a fan of Ritchie’s earlier films such as “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” then this one will not disappoint—if you’re new to Ritchie’s work (I’m not including “Aladdin” – different genre and sensibility), then you’re in for a treat. There is no shortage of colorful characters, offbeat dialogue (free of any political correctness, and all the more amusing for it), bursts of violence, cheeky references, and alternate perspectives (a Ritchie trademark, since here is always something new to be uncovered). McConaghey is in top form as the self-made “mogul” and king of the jungle who will go to any lengths to preserve his kingdom while Charlie Hunham almost matches him as his second-in-command with a few secrets of his own. Michelle Dockery also makes a strong impression as McConaghey’s wife, a resourceful woman in her own right, and one who has a way with paperweights (you’ll see what I mean). If it’s escapist entertainment you desire—and one that will leave you smiling—it’s difficult to go wrong with “The Gentlemen.”