By Kaylee Brewster
Two stars out of four
Committing only a few film crimes, “The Gentlemen” breaks away from a potentially disastrous storytelling technique to deliver a whopping finish.
From director Guy Ritchie (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch”) comes the story of Michael (Matthew McConaughey) who decides he wants to leave his life of crime and sell his empire, without it tumbling down.
In comes the cast of characters: potential buyer Matthew (Jeremy Strong), private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant), wannabe crime boss Dry Eye (Henry Golding), an expert fighting coach called Coach (Colin Farrell); and dealing with all of them is Michael’s right-hand man, Ray (Charlie Hunnam).
Most of what follows is standard Ritchie fare: rapid-fire dialogue and voice-overs, with some jokes thrown in for good measure. Sometimes what is seen and heard is corrected by another character, and the scene begins again.
Edits move fast as well, with quick cuts from scene-to-scene or character-to-character.
The problem with audio and visual storytelling devices that move along at whiplash pace is that sometimes they’re too clever for their own good. After a while, the exposition drags on, slowing the plot. Other times there’s so much information packed in that the audience can’t comprehend it.
However, “The Gentleman” finds its bearings in its final hour. As events unfold, the audience tries to figure out which criminal will end up king of the concrete jungle.
The real scene stealer is Grant. Gone is the bumbling, stuttering, dainty rom-com Hugh Grant of the ’90s. In his place is a sly, smooth-talking, tough, morally ambiguous Grant.
While not as smart or action-packed as it could be, “The Gentlemen,” for the most part, overcomes its struggles to deliver a decent film sure to please Ritchie fans.