‘The Gentlemen’ Review

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Guy Ritchie

Cast: Matthew McConughey, Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Henry Golding, Colin Farrell, Jeremy Strong, Tom Wu, Eddie Marsan and Hugh Grant

Synopsis: A British drug lord tries to sell off his highly profitable empire to a dynasty of Oklahoma billionaires.

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Writer/director Guy Ritchie made a splash on the film scene with his gangster comedies like Lock, Stock and Two Smokin’ Barrels and Snatch. He’s recently taken a crack at a TV spy adaptation in The Man from U.N.C.L.E (which is criminally underrated), a different take on King Arthur with King Arthur and the Legend of the Sword and recently, the successful, Disney live-action film Aladdin. One thing that was clear in all of them, Ritchie has a style that he’s mastered, and it’s damn enjoyable when he finds his groove. Enter, The Gentlemen.

Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), an American-born, marijuana kingpin in London is looking to get out of the game. He’s lucky enough to find a buyer in Jeremy Strong’s Matthew, but when Dry Eye (Henry Golding) tries to make a move on Mickey’s empire, things get a little too complicated. On top of that, Mickey’s right-hand man, Ray (Charlie Hunnam) has to deal with an ambitious, and somewhat sleazy cunning private eye in Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who is under employment from Big Dave (Eddie Marsan) to write a big story.

I won’t lie, I’ve been looking forward to The Gentlemen since I heard about, and it really did not disappoint. The movie is truly a Guy Ritchie film, but with some grown maturity from the filmmaker. The film throws you right into the action of everything with the movie mainly being told through the framing device of Fletcher telling Ray what he’s found out. Because of that, the first act of the movie is pretty exposition heavy, but Ritchie’s setting the stage for everything that’s about to come.

The movie doesn’t really slow down too much, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your viewing. Honestly, the only thing that I would count against the movie is sometimes the plot can get convoluted, and Michelle Dockery, who plays Mickey’s wife Rosalind, doesn’t have too much to do expect one pretty out there scene that surprisingly works.

If the plot doesn’t draw you in then maybe the cast will. McConaughey plays it pretty straight despite him playing a weed kingpin, but it’s the confidence that he drips makes the character. Hunnam’s Ray is a loyal soldier to Mickey and besides dealing with Fletcher, he deals with another subplot in the movie. Henry Golding’s Dry Eye isn’t the most interesting “villain” in the movie, and you can clearly see his ambition gets the better of him. Jeremy Strong’s Matthew still a character you like to hate, which the handful of scenes he has.

Easily, the two show-stealing performances belong to Colin Farrell’s Coach, a boxing coach to the local young kids, and is a much more important character than you think. Then there’s Hugh Grant, who is having a BALL playing Fletcher, as he chews up the scenery every time he’s on. He’s a bit scummy, but it’s hard to hate him.

All in all, The Gentlemen is an entertaining gangster comedy from beginning to end, with a great cast and catchy dialogue. It’s a fine return to form by Guy Ritchie to the genre, and something I hope we see more of him in the future.

The Gentlemen

Rating: Stamp of Approval

 

‘Non-Stop’ Review

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Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Scoot McNairy, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, Anson Mount and Lupita Nyong’o

Synopsis:. An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.

*Reviewer Note:  This is a spoiler free review as always.*

Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) boards a plane, win what he thinks will be regular flight.  Little does he know, a passenger on the plane sends him a text over the private network warning him a passenger will die every twenty minutes unless $150 million is transferred to a specific bank account, that later turns out to be his.  Now, over the Atlantic Ocean, Marks is in a race-against-time to find the man who is framing him and threaten to kill people on the plane.

Once we get in the plane, everyone is pretty much a suspect. Ranging from his seatmate Jen Summers (Moore), one of the many ticked off passengers (Stoll), tech app inventor (Parker) and the flight attendants which is lead by Michelle Dockery. With so many suspect and no good lead, Marks is desperate before the clock goes to zero. Marks badgers the passengers and occasionally grabs them roughly for some interrogation. With no one to trust, force is his only option, even if it makes him look like the bad guy to the people on board and the authorities on the ground.

Neeson does his thing as usual, playing the gruff badass character who is a little broken inside.  His character isn’t necessarily innocent, which gives the character some levity, but that’s getting into spoiler territory so I’ll let you witness that on your own.  Moore also does her thing trying to help Bill solve everything but, again, is somewhat suspicions.  Dockery’s flight attendant Nancy also tries to help Bill but when he starts to take extremes she starts to doubt whether the threat is real or not.

Other smaller roles include; the other prominent flight attendant Gwen played by 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o, co-pilot Kyle (Jason Butler Harner), Corey Stoll and Scoot McNairy.  Harner, Stoll, McNairy and Nate Parker characters give Bill some challenges along the way, but of course nothing can stop Bill from trying to find his target.

One of the nice things about the movie is that it could have gone into the usual thriller tropes but it keeps the viewer guessing until the very end.  It’s probably what makes this movie work so well in that aspect.  However, in the last act of the movie when we find out the person responsible it does kind of get to generic territory.

All in all, Non-Stop could have been a cliché/generic and predictable thriller but instead director Jaume Collet-Serra and co. bought their A-game and gave us an enjoyable who-done-it thriller.

Non-Stop

4 out of 5