Friday, 31 January 2020

Review: The Gentlemen (third-pass)

The Gentlemen
(third-pass / spoilers)
Cert: 18 / 113 mins / Dir. Guy Ritchie / Trailer

It's an odd thing how over the years our favourite films - or at least those we choose to watch the most - aren't always the ones we initially thought the most highly of. I originally scored Rian Johnson's Looper 6/7, despite being a logistical and philosophical masterpiece. The Coen Bros' Inside Llewyn Davis came in one point lower. Yet both have stayed with me ever since, and even made it into by best-of-decade list.

So watching Guy Ritchie's The Gentlemen for a third time within a month, I still stand by the reservations from my first and second passes. I still think it lacks the urgency of Lock, Stock, the playfulness of Snatch and the swagger of RocknRolla. I still think Matthew McConnaughey, while he throws in his all, isn't quite right for the role of Mickey Pearson.


Apart from anything else, although Pearson has been in the UK since his university days, he's still very outwardly American - using that to his advantage with underworld and aristocratic contacts alike. But because his rival of Jeremy Strong's Matthew Berger is also from the US, what we end up with is two outsiders arguing over the turf of a third party (ie the UK). To have Pearson be a British kingpin bristlingly defending his spot (eg Lenny in RocknRolla) would have made for a more dynamic film. If anything, the 'natural' protagonist with this cast should be Henry Golding's Dry Eye, having been brought up on London's streets. Alas, his character is firmly second-tier (albeit as part of an incredibly strong second-tier).

Likewise, Charlie Hunnam's Raymond isn't quite as roguish as the screenplay needs him to be, despite a choice scene with a machine gun (which he very obviously did not have under his coat when sprinting thirty seconds earlier, especially given that it hangs below the coat-line when he re-conceals it) and some beautifully eyebrow-raising language. And had The Toddlers appeared in an earlier Ritchie flick, they'd have fit right in with the grime, desperation and ineptitude; here they're oddly out of place.


But I digress. Truth be told, this third-pass was engineered in the capital to fit in with a jaunt down to Shepherd's Bush to visit The Princess Victoria pub from the film's opening moments. We jaunted, we visited, we saw the sights. Marvellous stuff.

The Gentlemen is cracking fun and has already earned a pre-booked place on my shelf for slick, easygoing, loudmouthed carnage. It's not the best student in its class, but is already a favourite. Apart from anything else, how many other 5/7s have had three turns in a cinema round these parts?

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Guy Ritchie's good films.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
See above.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
See above.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Not really, but that doesn't hold it back.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
We might.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Rogue One's Red Eleven is in this.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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