As long as you can ignore its cultural insensitivities, The Gentlemen is riotous brilliance from start to end.
The Gentlemen Synopsis
It’s well-known but still worth a mention. Guy Ritchie is one of those directors whose concepts of storytelling and comedy are styles you either love or loathe.
An acquired taste, in other words. Not too unlike the smelly foods of the world.
For me, I generally enjoy Ritchie’s movies, including the much-dissed King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and the rather schizophrenic live-action remake of Aladdin. The man’s in-your-face concepts of brotherhood and masculinity aside, I think Ritchie’s movies usually have a certain easy-flowing energy. It’s a zest that’s easy to lose yourself in. Provided you can ignore the more socially questionable and appalling elements of his tales.
On The Gentlemen, I think this zest is palpable throughout the movie, brilliantly executed too by some of the best (middle-age) actors of this generation. Dependent on criminal and racial stereotypes as they were, these A-listers effortlessly delivered the charisma or sleaze of their roles. The combined product of which is a story that is as hilarious as it is twisty, as it is unapologetic.
I should mention the dialogue too, which dished out some of the most linguistically beautiful lines I’ve ever heard from a crime comedy. So, SO ticklish too, when paired with British street talk and curses.
WWhile parts of these do border on the ostentatious, I think they frame the movie with a grim self-awareness. Beneath all the humour, The Gentlemen makes it clear that it understands that crime is first and foremost, brutal. There is always blood and murder, no matter how criminals tries to hide under glitz and glamour, or shallow sophistication.