8.5/10 Guy Ritchie hasn’t made a proper gangster film in over ten years. While I have enjoyed watching him branch out with mixed but mostly positive results, it is nice to see him return to the roots that he is known for with the gangster genre. Luckily I can report that he is back with a vengeance and even though the year is very early on and this will certainly change, so far “The Gentlemen” is the best film of 2019. From start to finish, the film has such a fun, fast paced energy that shoots along at a rapid fire pace, entertaining you from beginning to end. The characters are high energy and you can tell that the actors playing them all are having a blast. There are some twists and turns with the plot that I enjoyed and Ritchie has (I believe wisely) retired some of his early career editing jumpiness/flash while still maintaining directorial flair to make this feel fresh, as well as a visual treat. The score and soundtrack fit the film perfectly and the cinematography is well planned out and executed in terrific effect. This all-star cast is impressive and it was great to see Michelle Dockery break out of her classy/proper “Downton Abbey” role for something hardcore. Matthew McConaughey, who I can’t believe is 50 years of age, is having fun with how suave he is one minute and how violently protective he is the next. I’ve never seen Hugh Grant like this before and here’s to hoping he takes more roles like this. The rest of the supporting cast is fantastic and the film just has a really cool, enjoyable vibe to it. You can watch it and seriously pay attention and get something out of it or put it on in the background while you’re doing something else and either way you will have a great time. There are some genuinely funny moments and I loved how politically incorrect the film was at times. There were a few minor issues that are worth noting but won’t greatly detract from your enjoyment. As the film is named, the gentlemen take center stage and as great as Dockery was as the lone female in the film, she was underdeveloped and I wish they would have written her better and done more with her character. There are some meta moments near the end of the film as it plugs Miramax, the studio who made this film, that I wasn’t a big fan of. There was one line in the film that ripped off a line from Stuart Beattie’s “Collateral” script but just tweaked it enough to think we wouldn’t notice. If you are a film buff and a fan of the film “Collateral” like I am, you definitely noticed and know which line I am talking about. Lastly, Ritchie has tackled some similar elements in his earlier work and even though this film has some differences, some of the similarities are felt. Overall though this is one Hell of a good time at the movie theater so if you like hard R rated gangster dramas but something like “The Irishman” is a little too serious for you, take a walk on the fun side and enjoy some time with these gentlemen.
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