The Gentlemen  Review: Of Ugly Laughs and Gentle Thrills
What more can you do to the story of crime families and the world of organized crime that hasn’t already been done? Ask Guy Ritchie. He is the cool backbencher of the class who manages to score decent marks to earn a seat and stay interesting in the long-run. Now, I am a strange Gut Ritchie audience. I have seen him when he was at the peak of his mediocrity. I have heard about his glory days of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, but I haven’t seen them yet. That being said, I managed to specialize in the worse half of Ritchie’s career with a couple of Sherlock Films, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and his stint in fantasy with Aladdin and King Arthur. The Gentlemen would be, hence, my first film in which Ritchie is quoted to return to his forte. I won’t deny that I am pleasantly surprised.
The Gentlemen is a curious form of meta cinema that tells a fictional story, suspends our disbelief, restores it, makes us ambiguous, makes us not care about it anymore, and brings us back to fiction only to make it ambiguous again. The fashion in which the film terminates makes you care less about the authenticity of the plot, as its existence in the realtime or just paper, and more about the experience you had in the course of the film. This doesn’t mean it is puzzling of a film which requires tough brain work to be deciphered.
It has the body of a mainstream commercial entertainer. It has melody, wit, action, thrill, and a great dose of style. The wardrobe of the film’s inhabitants is orgasmic. And there are enough twists and turns to keep the journey exciting. That being said, the ensemble cast brought in the film remains underutilized. Collin Farrel is an element of entertainment in an otherwise set of decent to mediocre performances. Since the script never takes itself seriously, actors are kept involved in the events of the film more than their respective acts. Homoerotic elements fail to generate the humor they were intended to generate and hence, come out as stereotypical and borderline homophobic.
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Ignorant idiots do not fail to laugh, anyway. A couple of racist inferences are normalized explicitly. The Gentlemen come with their fair share of problematic elements disguised as machoism. But such elements aren’t absolute in the disrespect they cause. Their ambiguous nature prevents one type of audience from complete aversion and maintains hilarity for another. I do not mind a departure from the dense cinema. The Gentlemen majorly worked for me in, falling in the bracket of entertainers. Hence, I won’t shy away from recommending this film to anyone. An imposition, however? Maybe not.