The Gentlemen Review – Solid, Gritty, A Mix of Chaos, Crime and Civility

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The Gentleman, from Miramax and STX Films, presents a contemporary tale of corporate greed as a hostile takeover of the UK’s Cannabis Kingpin’s business brings out the worst in everyone who decides the profit margin is worth the risk.


Directed and co-written by Guy Ritchie, The Gentlemen stars Matthew McConaughy, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Lyne Renee, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding, Tom Wu, Lily Frazer, Jordan Long, Samuel West, Geraldine Somerville and Eliot Sumner.

The film begins in flashback. We see Mickey Pearson, played by Matthew McConaughy, walking into a pub, ordering a pickled egg and a pint, dropping a quarter into the jukebox and telephoning his wife, Rosalind, played by Michelle Dockery.

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We hear the shot and see the splatter. The film then cuts to an introduction of Mickey Pearson, King of the Jungle. A self-made multi-millionaire who made his way to the UK on a Oxford Scholarship. His trailer park existence in the US, only energized him to never return to that lifestyle and he adopted a 'whatever is necessary' mantra.

The only negotiable habit he brought with him from the states was his participation in weed and his ability to build a business off the back of the Europe’s elite who sent their posh sons and daughters to Oxford for the best education money could buy. Soon, he expanded his empire and as necessity would have it, the market doubled, tripled, quadrupled and kept riding high on supply and demand.

We see Mickey now, middle age, with twenty good years of building a conglomerate, backyard bar-b-que's and country estates are calling. He is ready to retire. His $400 million dollar operation is so stealth, that few if any, know where or how he could grow, and arrange for European distribution without as much as a traffic ticket over the years.

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All that will soon change. Mickey as we find out has an Achilles heel, his smart, talented, elegant, charming and very British wife, Rosalind, who is able to read very well the nuances that may be lost even on the transplanted.

Tonight, they are at the dinner party of Lord Pressfield, played by Samuel West and his wife, Lady Pressfield, played by Geraldine Somerville. The very gentlemanly small talk between Mickey and newcomer businessman Matthew, played by Jeremy Strong, centers on the sudden interest by the Pressfield’s and why the head of the table was bestowed on him, a bespectacled, well dressed, dapper man of Mickey’s age. Clothes do maketh the man, as we are also told.

An interest develops. As the word on the street is Mickey's impending retirement can be facilitated by the highest bidder, who will become the new knighted Kingpin of the EU’s gold rush, entertaining offers has become somewhat of a new pastime.

Now, before we are told any of these details, we follow another well-dressed gentleman into his home. We see him pausing, for just a moment, as if to rethink the day before it becomes history, when we hear the clinking of ice, and see in the shadows, an empty rock glass.

From out of the shadow we find out Ray, played by Charlie Hunnam, is the owner and as the voice moves into the light and we hear him say, “Fletcher,” a tabloid hired private eye with the same level of ethics, played by Hugh Grant.

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It is at this point, which is early in the film, we find out Mickey doesn’t have a fondness for the tabloid style rag sheets that fall under the umbrella of yellow journalism, nor does he hide it. A party, a public disrespect, and he has become the target of an all-out gorilla journalism blitz attack, complete with stalking P.I.’s employing every known tactic and all the newest electronic surveillance to capture what he believes is every compromising moment available.

With Fletcher providing voice over of his part of the ensuing drama, we move to live action and see Mickey providing his own, of course in a free market society the cost of such a lucrative business could teeter on maintaining the status quo. One little upset and the whole operation could become a liability before profitability could knight the successor king.

The Gentlemen mixes the world of violence, intrigue, the sudden sophistication of the drug trade and criminality, into a silky easy libation that goes down smooth with a fine finish.

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The international cast carries their respective roles effortlessly. The expectations of type casting can be left at the door as this accomplished ensemble bring this entertaining screenplay to life becoming these unusual cast of characters that make up the world of Mickey Pearson.

Solid, gritty, a mix of chaos, crime and civility, The Gentlemen, serves us a spoonful of sugar before we see the graphic, harsh, uncompromising, realistic, brutality of modern-day London street crime and drug trade violence.

The Gentlemen opens January 24, 2020. See it.

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