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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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CineHawk Review: ‘The Gentlemen’

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GRAPHICS: Kaitlyn Patterson ’20

The latest directorial endeavor from crime genre veteran Guy Ritchie, “The Gentlemen,” is a modern masterpiece, filled with dark humor, a compelling and thrilling plot and Oscar-caliber performances from its all-star cast, including Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell, Charlie Hunnam and Hugh Grant.

“The Gentlemen,” set in London, tells the story of American expatriate and weed baron Mickey Pearson, played by McConaughey, who is looking to sell his lucrative business and leave the criminal world behind.

The film’s narrative is framed as a pitch for a screenplay being delivered to Pearson’s right-hand man Raymond, played by Hunnam. This is executed through scheming private investigator Fletcher, played by Grant, who is attempting to blackmail Pearson to force him to keep quiet.

This setup instantly elevates the storytelling of “The Gentlemen,” making for a more comedic and lively engagement with the plot putting a fresh spin on what could have been uninteresting narration. This is certainly helped by Grant’s eccentric, yet unnerving role as Fletcher. His retelling of the film’s events is fun and compelling, with an air of menace permeating his scenes.

Loyal to Mickey and ruthless to his enemies, Hunnam brings a layered performance as a stoic professional who also clearly loves his job. Though he is quite active in the flashbacks, he is seemingly passive in the present day, taking Fletcher’s retelling and appearing to acquiesce to the blackmail demands, which only serves to make the movie’s big reveal even more satisfying.

McConaughey brings his signature cool and confident charisma to the character of Mickey, selling his sophisticated charm while also playing into the violent tendencies that he is trying to leave buried in his past. Mickey also shows a softer side on occasion, brought to the surface by his wife and business partner, Rosalind Pearson (played by Michelle Dockery).

While Rosalind plays a limited role in the film, the couple has a fun, flirtatious dynamic that is always entertaining to watch. If there is any flaw in her portrayal, it comes towards the end of the movie’s final action sequence, where she is unnecessarily victimized by the film’s main villain in a way that clashes with the movie’s comedic tone.

While the film packs a sizable comedic punch, even though it at times overuses a certain English curse, it is no slouch in the action department either.

In addition to a few scenes with firearms that are requisite of any crime film, there is also a surprising amount of martial arts action, courtesy of The Toddlers. This gang of deceptively skilled amateur boxers, trained by the enigmatic coach, played by Farrel, provides kinetic action sequences on top of comic relief.

As for their leader, the coach is interesting enough. Coach is a skilled fighter who is nevertheless disciplined and pragmatic enough to know not to pick a fight with a powerful drug lord. He even agrees to work with Mickey as atonement for his boxers’ raiding one of Mickey’s drug dens. The character’s only real flaw is that the script spares little for his backstory, making it somewhat hard to understand his motivation.

“The Gentlemen” is a fantastic start to the 2020 cinematic cycle, boasting a darkly hilarious character ensemble that is a career high for McConaughey and Ritchie. If this foretells the coming year in movies, we’re in good hands.

 

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