Star Rating:

The Gentlemen

Streaming On: Watch The Gentlemen on Netflix

Director: Guy Ritchie

Actors: Theo James, Joely Richardson, Daniel Ings, Kaya Scodelario

Release Date: Thursday 7th March 2024

Running time: 400 minutes

Guy Ritchie's filmography is, to put it mildly, patchy at best.

For every 'Snatch' or 'Sherlock Holmes', there's a 'Swept Away' and 'Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre' in there to balance it all out. That being said, some of his most interesting works sometimes end up being misfires. 'The Man From UNCLE' was a breezy affair, 'Revolver' looked gorgeous even though it was incomprehensible, and 'Wrath of Man' was an outrageously bleak crime thriller that turned Jason Statham into a near approximation of Charles Bronson on a bad day. 'The Gentlemen', one of his more recent works, was a middling affair with a star-studded ensemble cast that included pre-'Succession' Jeremy Strong and post-'Serenity' Matthew McConaughey squaring off in London for weed growing whilst other skulduggery went on with Hugh Grant playing a blackmailing member of the fourth estate.

This particular iteration of 'The Gentlemen' follows the same basic premise of the movie, wherein Theo James plays the son of a English nobleman who has fled the family estate and joined the British Army. He's recalled home to visit his dying father, who as it turns out, had been leasing some of the family estate to a profitable weed-growing business that's controlled by Ray Winstone and fronted by Kaya Scodelario. Deciding that it's best to extricate the hobnobs from the criminal underworld, Theo James' character agrees to a deal with Kaya Scodelario - namely, they remove their enterprise from the family estate within the year, and he'll help them along the way with various nefarious dealings. In the middle of all this, however, is a fuck-up of an older brother played with delightful glee by Daniel Ings who routinely gets in the way, and a stereotypical upper-class mother played with severe detachment by Joely Richardson.

The rest of the cast is filled out with the likes of Ray Winstone playing Kaya Scoldelario's on-screen mobster father in a role he could probably play in his sleep. Vinnie Jones turns up as the hard-as-nails groundskeeper with a heart of gold, while Giancarlo Esposito plays an American who's eager to snap up said estate from Theo James just as soon as possibly can for unknown but likely underhanded reasons. Just from these three alone, you can see that 'The Gentlemen' isn't really stretching itself in either casting against type or going against the established order either.

While Ritchie is involved in terms of directing a few episodes and producing and creating, the rest of the series is left to directors such as Eran Creevy and writers like 'Love/Hate' impresario Stuart Carolan and the series does have it moments where they're able to shine and bring their own unique flavour to the screen in a way that would otherwise be neglected. In the case of Eran Creevy, who previously directed the so-so but so-stylish 'Welcome To The Punch', there's a real sheen and gloss to the thing that you rarely see it in Brit-crime series such as this. That being said, there still remains a lot of the quirks and style choices that often aggravates Ritchie's detractors.

There's the uncomfortable comfortableness with the class system, the lack of meaningfully developed characters, the constant whizz-bang-pop editing, and not to mention the fact that much of the twists and turns of the overall series are lifted straight from his other movies. In fact, you could argue 'The Gentlemen' is essentially a reheating and rehashing of some of his more notable works as there's nothing particular unique or new here, beyond the flourishes from some of the assembled writers and directors. Ultimately, your mileage with 'The Gentlemen' rests on that.