The Gentlemen (2019 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Guy Ritchie|
|Screenplay by||Guy Ritchie|
|Music by||Christopher Benstead|
|Edited by||James Herbert|
|Box office||$75.3 million|
The Gentlemen is a 2019 action comedy film written and directed by Guy Ritchie, from a story by Ivan Atkinson, Marn Davies, and Ritchie. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant. It follows an American marijuana kingpin in England who is looking to sell his business, setting off a chain of blackmail and schemes to undermine him.
The Gentlemen premiered at the Curzon Mayfair Cinema on December 3, 2019, and was theatrically released in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2020 and in the United States on January 24, 2020, by STXfilms. It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $75 million worldwide.
Big Dave, editor of the Daily Print tabloid, is snubbed by cannabis baron Mickey Pearson at a party and hires private investigator Fletcher to investigate Pearson's links to Lord Pressfield, a minor Royal with a heroin-addicted daughter. Fletcher offers to sell his findings (typed up as a screenplay entitled Bush) to Pearson's right-hand man Raymond for £20 million.
Born in poverty in the US, Pearson won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he began selling marijuana to privileged fellow students before dropping out and building up his criminal enterprise by violence. He plans to sell his business to American billionaire Matthew Berger for $400 million so he can retire peacefully with his wife Rosalind. Pearson shows Berger one of the labs where he grows his cannabis under the estates of aristocratic landlords, who need cash for the upkeep of their stately homes. Pearson is later approached by Dry Eye, an underboss for Chinese gangster Lord George. Dry Eye offers to buy out Pearson's business, but he refuses. Pearson's lab is then raided by amateur MMA fighters who film their encounter defeating the lab's guards and stealing the marijuana before uploading it online as a rap video. The fighters' trainer, known only as Coach, orders them to delete the video and is horrified when he discovers that the cannabis belongs to Pearson.
Pearson begins transferring his cannabis-growing out of the estates. He also agrees to bring home Pressfield's wayward daughter Laura. Raymond retrieves Laura from a council estate where she is living with several other addicts. However, in a brawl with her room-mates one of Raymond's men accidentally pushes Aslan, a young Russian man, out of the window to his death. Laura later dies of a heroin overdose. Coach visits Raymond, apologizes for his students' actions, and offers his services as penance. Coach has captured Phuc, a henchman of Dry Eye's who had informed Coach's crew about the lab location, although Phuc is accidentally killed during a botched escape attempt. Pearson threatens Lord George for going after his lab, and destroys one of his heroin labs in retaliation. George chastises Dry Eye for his insubordination in attacking Pearson and offering to buy him out; George nods to a henchman to execute Dry Eye, but the man executes George instead.
Unknown to Pearson, Dry Eye is in league with Berger, who had wanted Pearson's business disrupted to reduce the price. Dry Eye has taken Lord George's place and still hopes to take Pearson's empire for himself. Dry Eye tries to kidnap Rosalind, who kills Dry Eye's men before she runs out of bullets in her 2-shot derringer. Raymond kills an assassin sent to kill Pearson; the two rush to Rosalind and Pearson kills Dry Eye as he is about to rape her. Fletcher ends his story and Raymond orders him to leave his house.
Fletcher has merely confirmed Pearson's suspicions about the link between Dry Eye and Berger. Raymond orders Coach's students to capture Big Dave. They drug him and film him having sex with a pig, threatening to post it online unless he drops his investigation. Pearson and Berger meet up again in a frozen fish plant, actually a cover for Pearson's European distribution operation. Berger drops his offer to $130 million, but Pearson reveals his knowledge of Berger's plan, shows him Dry Eye's frozen body and tells him he is keeping his business. Pearson forces Berger inside a refrigerator, where he will freeze to death unless he transfers $270 million compensation and, for the assault on Rosalind, cuts "a pound of flesh" from his own body.
Fletcher approaches Raymond again for his payment, but Raymond reveals that he was tailing Fletcher all along. The fighters have stolen his stashes of evidence after Raymond placed a tracker on him during their last encounter. Fletcher reveals that he has also sold info to Aslan's father, a Russian oligarch and former KGB agent. The assassin that Raymond earlier killed was one of the Russians. Coach kills two Russian hitmen sent to kill Raymond, while Fletcher escapes in the chaos. Pearson is kidnapped by two other Russians, but they are quickly ambushed by Coach's students who want to "solve Coach's problem". They assault the car with bullets, killing the Russians and allowing Pearson to escape. Later, Fletcher decides to pitch the story as a film to Miramax. After his meeting, he gets into a cab only to realize that Raymond is the driver. Upon learning of Fletcher's capture, Pearson and Rosalind return to their cannabis empire and celebrate in each other's company.
- Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson
- Charlie Hunnam as Raymond Smith
- Henry Golding as Dry Eye
- Michelle Dockery as Rosalind Pearson
- Jeremy Strong as Matthew Berger
- Eddie Marsan as Big Dave
- Colin Farrell as Coach
- Hugh Grant as Fletcher
- Chidi Ajufo as Bunny
- Jason Wong as Phuc
- Brittany Ashworth as Ruby
- Samuel West as Lord Pressfield
- Eliot Sumner as Laura Pressfield
- Lyne Renée as Jackie
- Chris Evangelou as Primetime
- Franz Drameh as Benny
- Bugzy Malone as Ernie
- Tom Wu as Lord George
It was announced in May 2018 that Guy Ritchie would direct and write The Gentlemen, a film that would be in the same spirit as Ritchie's earlier Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. The project was unveiled at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where Miramax acquired the distribution rights. Filming was expected to begin in October. In October, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Beckinsale, Henry Golding and Hugh Grant were cast, with Jeremy Strong, Jason Wong and Colin Farrell joining in November. Michelle Dockery also signed on, replacing Beckinsale in her role. In December 2018, Lyne Renée was added as well.
In February 2019, STX Entertainment acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film from Miramax for $7 million. The film had its world premiere as a VIP special screening at Curzon Mayfair on 3 December 2019. It was theatrically released in the UK on 1 January 2020 and in the US on 24 January 2020. The studio spent around $25 million on promoting the film.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside The Turning, and was projected to gross around $10 million from 2,100 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $3.1 million on its first day, including $725,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $10.6 million, finishing fourth at the box office. It then made $6 million in its second weekend, finishing fifth. In its third and fourth weekends the film made a respective $4.2 million and $2.7 million.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 73% based on 221 reviews, with an average rating of 6.36/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "It may not win writer-director Guy Ritchie many new converts, but for those already attuned to the filmmaker's brash wavelength, The Gentlemen stands tall." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported an average 3.5 out of 5 stars, with 48% of people saying they would definitely recommend it.
Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Leah Greenblatt rated the film a "B-" and found it to come up short when compared to Ritchie's previous crime films, stating, "The Gentlemen is nothing if not a callback to the Locks of yesteryear, star-stacked and defibrillated with enough juice to jolt a gorilla out of cardiac arrest." Some reviews perceived the film as anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic and sexist on account of its portrayals of characters that fit stereotypes. The Independent described it as "an equal opportunity offender" in its targeting of a multitude of minorities from Jews to East-Asians.
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