The Gentlemen (2020)

“Business is business. It’s nothing personal.”

The Gentlemen is my least favorite kind of movie to review, mostly because there’s almost nothing substantial or memorable enough to be worthy of commentary. It’s hard to do a write-up on a wannabe hit that’s this poorly written, this immediately forgettable, this instantly innocuous, and what is an early front-runner for the most bland film of 2020. I couldn’t tell you the most basic plot points, and I was even more confused after going to Wikipedia for further reference (seriously, try to read the plot and not have your head spin). This movie reads – both visually and on the page – as a boozed-up and blacked out concoction that isn’t worth being taken seriously. I will never sit down with The Gentlemen again. That’d be a bloody waste of time.

There’s honestly no real appeal or intrigue behind The Gentlemen, which makes sense since the picture relies on impossible situations full of implausible people driven by inhumane intent. Such is life from the get go, as the film gives great acreage to the double-dealing and duplicitous salesman Fletcher (Hugh Grant), trying to convince Ray (Charlie Hunnam) into buying the cheap and clichéd real estate that he’s selling. Ray doesn’t bite, and if it looks like he is, it’s on purpose. He works with and for Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey, doing his best impression of his own overbearing Lincoln car commercials), a rather temperamental and American marijuana king who came from naught and built his business around a green gold rush. And that’s about all of the plot that I can remember. This is a convoluted, confusing, excessive, messy movie.

The Gentlemen so badly wants to chastise the criminal minds of youngbloods whilst catering to the commonalities of its broadly drawn, complicit adult figureheads. The tadpoles can’t do much damage, and yet the frogs can’t leap much higher despite having limbs. But they’re often at odds and at war, and the only interesting piece to this puzzle is the eponymous Coach (Colin Farrell), a righteous and nefarious man who teaches youngsters how to box and who’s willing to throw a few punches of his own, but not before first dodging those thrown at him. The picture needed more of his presence. Maybe then I would have believed that it could walk the walk instead of just flippantly talking the talk.

Never for a second did I buy the wheeling and dealing that The Gentlemen was actually trying to sell throughout its prolonged run-time. Rarely could I understand these folks without subtitles either. This movie is more invested in entertaining it’s own oddball ideas – and pleasuring its pre-programmed audience – than it is in appealing to the masses. And, sadly, I couldn’t have been less invested in who these people are. The Gentlemen is a terriblly written and poorly directed film from Guy Ritchie, who’s given us yet another indulgent and nondescript picture full of people you don’t care about loitering around in a world you want to abandon. It’s a deeply forgettable, by the numbers crime film that’s been made by a director desperate to infuse a sense of cool and to force his fingerprints on every single frame. At least you leave knowing who is guilty of such a criminally lousy caper.

“You can’t unsee it. It’s nightmare fuel.”

Rating: 1 out of 5

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