Guy Ritchie's Lock Stock and Two Smoking barrels is one of my favourite films.
It is dynamic filmmaking with a riotous story, slick plot, sharp dialogue and a booming soundtrack.
After the success of Lock Stock and Two Smoking barrels, Guy Ritchie bounced around the world of filmmaking with a number of commercially unsuccessful films, and a foray into mainstream Hollywood with two Sherlock Holmes films.
The Gentlemen reconnects Guy Ritchie to his film roots.
That means gangster films. Specifically, London hoodlums and racketeers.
He has affinity with gangster films because he does them well.
The Gentlemen is loaded with razor-edged conversation, the threat and delivery of bloody violence and comic intent.
Michael Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is a US-born London-based kingpin of the London drug market.
He only deals in marijuana and abhors heroin.
Although Michael was offered a scholarship to Oxford, he learned quickly that he had a facility for dealing drugs to the students of privileged backgrounds at the esteemed university.
This talent overcame his need to study traditional areas of learning.
So he built an empire based on his business acumen and his ruthlessness in dealing with competitors.
We meet Michael and his equally ruthless wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery), who operates a garage that rebirths stolen luxury cars for resale and employs only women, at a stage in his life when he is contemplating retirement (if criminals can retire).
He also faces a threat from competing gangs who want to acquire his drug kingdom by foul or fair means.
Everyone from competing Cannabis Kingpin Mathew to Asian drug lord Phuc scheme to take over Michael's lucrative business.
Russian mafia, Asian syndicates and English thugs are slathered throughout the film.
You need a scorecard to work out who is undermining whom.
The entire film is framed by the story of the film being told by tabloid reporter Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who is trying to extort money from Michael's number one enforcer Raymond (Charlie Hannam), a mild-mannered business figure who has a hidden hard-hearted personality capable of committing atrocious violence.
I sensed that Guy Ritchie was being a tad too clever for his own good with all the film references, clever visuals, smart-alec dialogue and intertwined story.
The Gentlemen was heading down the road of parody, not only of English crime villains, but of Guy Ritchie 's own films.
As it turns it, it is another rollicking tale that understands its own place and Ritchie's standing in the vault of gangster films.
Ritchie knows what he's doing and why he's doing it. He has a sense of commercial viability and a reinvigoration of his film credentials as well as delivering again an entertaining romp through the London underworld.
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