movies

The Gentlemen is the best movie no one's watching, and it's a bloody travesty.

It’s not that I don’t like Guy Ritchie and his wise-cracking, fast-talking gangster shtick. I loved Snatch, I’m still quoting it 20 years later.

It’s just that I was a bit reluctant to see a movie called The Gentlemen.

The marketing for the release has been well and truly geared towards the guys – I know, shocker – but it also just looks like a film best enjoyed with a whisky and, you know, the male gaze.

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And I’m not saying women don’t drink whisky – I have a delicious single malt on my drinks trolley at home. But we all know when a movie is ~for the ladies~ it’s usually cosmos and high heels, and it’s hard to undo 30 years of blatant gender programming.

I saw a trailer with Matthew McConaughey and that hot guy from Sons of Anarchy in well-cut tweed suits with really good facial hair, I made my assumptions and put it in the Saturday night maybe-if-there’s-a-heatwave pile.

So when temperatures reached 32 degrees on Saturday night, it’s no surprise my partner was more excited about seeing the latest Guy Ritchie flick than a Korean horror movie with subtitles. Guess I’ll have to wait until Parasite hits Netflix.

He bought the tickets (a trade-off) and we took our seats.

And then we watched it.

And I have not stopped talking about it since.

From the moment it starts, with the flick of a light switch in a dark room, The Gentlemen grips you.

The first voice you hear is Hugh Grant’s, who I last saw in Paddington 2 and frankly, I’m shocked at this career transformation.

If you’re expecting him to dither his way through with the usual tentative Hugh Grant chatter, you’re in for a treat. The guy flips the switch on his own MO as a seedy private detective with tabloid connections who’s stumbled upon the scoop of a lifetime.

Hugh Grant The Gentlemen
Drinking scotch, obviously. Image: Supplied.

He's the big surprise of the film - the rest fits comfortably into Richie's wheelhouse: two hours of drugs, blackmail, guns and gangsters. And if that all sounds yawn-inducing to you then SAME, but stay with me.

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A brief plot summary: McConaughey is Mickey Pearson, an American expat and the kingpin of a marijuana empire who makes deals with (and deals to) the British aristocracy. Now he's getting older, he's ready to trade in the 'bush' business for a quiet life in the country. But his enemies have other plans.

Sons of Anarchy hottie plays his right-hand man, and Colin Farrell steals the show as a boxing coach with mob ties, but the best bloke in the movie is easily Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery, who plays Mickey's wife Roz.

Heading up a mechanic business with only women on the auto-shop floor, she more or less carries Mickey's balls in a vice grip. Someone refers to her as a 'Cockney Cleopatra' and what more needs to be said really?

Michelle Dockery The Gentlemen
Hello, Lady Mary. Image: Supplied.

Also, Henry Golding plays a gorgeous bad guy and again, I don't think I need to expand here.

Then there's the backdrop of contemporary England, from sweeping country estates to decrepit council estates. As much as it parodies high society, The Gentlemen also presents a spot-on piss-take of the streetwise underclass, obsessed with YouTube and their iPhones. I've never laughed harder than in a scene involving a teenage fight club in a kebab shop.

For all its good bits, and they're mostly excellent, the film does have its downfalls. The racist Chinese slurs made for uncomfortable viewing - I think we can all agree jokes like that have run their course, so yeah, move on Ritchie.

There is also a scene with a pig that fans of Black Mirror will swear is plagiarism, but it's just as disturbing the second time around.

Otherwise, The Gentlemen is as stylish as it is funny; the kind of film you wish was a series so you could delve even deeper into the characters and their storylines. Particularly Roz, who deserves her own spin-off.

In summary, it's all class - except for the c-bombs.

Have you seen The Gentlemen? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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