By Lily Brown
My first cinema experience of the year was to see Guy Ritchie’s latest film, The Gentlemen. I have to admit I have never seen some of Ritchie’s more famous films, including Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and RocknRolla. However, I had seen his Sherlock Holmes films and I enjoyed those. I had seen the trailer for The Gentlemen and been drawn in by the strong cast and exciting action sequences. This film did not disappoint, I would happily pay to go and see the film again at the cinema.
Matthew McConaughey and Hugh Grant, both once known for their roles in romantic comedies, are continuing to show audiences that they have other strings to their bow. McConaughey plays the lead man, Mickey Pearson, and is both charming and rather scary when necessary. Hugh Grant’s Fletcher narrates most of the film and offers some comic relief which is welcome during some of the more serious scenes. Fletcher, a private investigator working on a story for a big newspaper on Mickey and his enterprise, is not only funny but a potentially unreliable narrator, with Charlie Hunnam’s Raymond pulling him up on the more dramatic and fanciful elements of his tale. Henry Golding, who I recently saw in Last Christmas, plays Mickey’s cunning adversary Dry Eye. Michele Dockery, playing Mickey’s beloved wife, Rosalind also shone in her role. She showed range as both an independent and astute businesswoman, warning Mickey that he would not be able to hang around all the time once he retires, and wielding a gun when necessary. However, she is ultimately saved by Mickey when threatened by Dry Eyes in her office.
The film balances comedy, action and some darker subplots well, and although some of the action may seem far-fetched it is never to the detriment of the film. Perhaps the darkest part of the film involves the death of the Laura Pressfield, the daughter of a wealthy family Mickey is associated with. Despite Mickey and his right-hand man, Raymond, attempting to return her home to recover from her heroin problem she dies on her parents’ front lawn. This scene is juxtaposed with Mickey talking to George, his counterpart in the heroin industry, about the differences between their products. Some of the action scenes were so tense I was on the edge of my seat and I thought the scene where Mickey is rushing to the aid of his wife was particularly well-acted.
The film jumps around a little, with some moments being replayed and with the film catching up to Fletcher’s narrative. I found that sometimes it took a moment to work out where the narrative has picked up and whether we were seeing a flashback or watching the action in real-time. However, overall the film is a joy to watch with plenty of twists and turns to keep the audience guessing at the ending. The film’s finale, while initially hinting at a cliffhanger ending, ties everything up nicely. I hope we get a sequel!