Writer/director Guy Ritchie giving us this movie, reminds me of Martin Scorsese and The Irishman. Entertaining stuff, with terrific casts and great acting, but nothing we haven’t seen before (and done better) by these directors.
It seems like just yesterday Ritchie was giving us films like Snatch, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and RocknRolla. He took a detour and gave us Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.), Aladdin, and a few forgettable films (that I’m too lazy to even Google). So for me, this was a welcome return.
If you’re casting a pot dealer, it might seem a bit on the nose to cast Matthew McConaughey. But he’s not the stoner you’d expect. This is the top pot dealer in the U.K. His right-hand man is played by an unrecognizable Charlie Hunnam, who is in the process of being blackmailed by Hugh Grant’s character. Colin Farrell goes against type, as a boxing coach trying to do the right thing, who ends up in the middle of all this. Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) is the wife, and “Cockney Queen” who works well with McConaughey. It would’ve been nice if they had better chemistry, or were shown more as a power couple of the drug trade.
Mickey Pearson (McConaughey) wants to sell his marijuana empire for $400 million. Fellow American Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong) seems interested, but has a few questions.
An up and coming dealer (Henry Golding) also wants to buy it, but for reasons that aren’t exactly clear, Pearson doesn’t want to sell to him. And he rather rudely kicks him out of his office. If you guessed that won’t be a smart move, you’re correct.
Grant plays a private eye (or newspaper reporter, I’m not sure exactly which), who shows up to blackmail Raymond (Hunnam), and it felt a bit like Travolta in Get Shorty (since he just shows up in his house, and talks about all this as if you could pitch it as a film script). It’s not the only movie you’ll feel this borrowed from. Aside from Ritchie’s other pictures, I thought of Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, and Black Mirror.
The plot gets overstuffed with stories, and is rather convoluted, but you enjoy the ride. Ritchie has a stylish way of showing violence and sarcastic quips that are a bit of fun (unless you have an aversion to the c-word, which in fairness, has a different connotation in England).
I’m a bit on the fence about all the exposition from Fletcher, but Ritchie showed us enough of what was going on to make it interesting.
I would’ve liked another scene or two with the tabloid newspaper editor (played by Eddie Marsan, whom I loved in The World’s End).
There’s a solid score by Chris Benstead, and it was cool to hear songs by The Jam and Roxy Music. This might be the most British movie ever made (and you’ll have a hard time understanding some of the dialogue due to the strong accents).
I was surprised my wife liked the movie more than I did. It probably had something to do with all “The Gentlemen.”
It gets extra credit for referencing the movie The Conversation, and also dissing it.
3 stars out of 5.