Guy Ritchie’s “The Gentlemen” is about a herd of alpha dogs competing to see whose ego reigns supreme. Everyone in the cast turns up the charisma to win both the approval of competing rival gangs and the audience. From Henry Golding’s suave but explosive Dry Eye, to Charlie Hunnam’s orderly but smug Raymond, to Hugh Grant’s slimey reporter who desires recognition for his storytelling abilities (he recounts everything like he’s writing a screenplay) to especially Matthew McConaughey’s resourceful thug who has gained more power than he had ever hoped and tries desperately to be, well, a gentleman. There is no shortage of likable and explosive characters in this gangster comedy, all of them acting like bloodthirsty lords who wish to be proper and regal.
Though at times, it does feel like these characters go off and wander away from the plot, like someone forgot to herd these alpha dogs. There are many times where the film wanders around aimlessly, like when McConaughey’s character is confronting Dry Eye’s boss or a subplot involving a rebellious teenage girl. It does give Hunnam a chance to be intimidating and McConaughey to show that he can be scary when he wants to be, but these scenes don’t really go anywhere. The biggest problem with “The Gentlemen” is that it’s all style and charm with little direction, letting that style overwhelm the story, especially when it comes to Hugh Grant’s description of the events like it was a glamorous movie that he’s weaving together. At times it is intriguing and even hilarious with the word play and clever insults, but the story never feels coherent and it often feels like there is no story – it’s just gangsters being gangsters. It makes for an entertaining ride filled with odd ball characters that feel larger than life with a unique style of cutting things together like the movie was being made right in front of us, but without a solid story it lacks any real teeth – fun but kinda forgettable.
Final Grade: B-