The director of Scams, Crimes and Botany and Snatch return to the energetic and furious origins of his cinema.
Available on VOD since last summer, The Gentlemen arrives tonight on television, in encrypted on Canal +. Here is Première’s review.
The Gentlemen: the explosive return of Guy Ritchie! [Critical]
After more than ten years of wandering, except the solid diptych Sherlock Holmes, Guy Ritchie returns to his first love: the choral and furious gangster film. A return that we no longer expected. It had been a hell of a lot of money since we had heard from him live from the slums of London where petty crime with a Cockney accent was rampant. These fishy, grotesque but endearing scoundrels trying to screw up their business plan for a few banknotes of which they will never see the color. The last time was in 2008 for RockNRolla, between a sweaty club and an immaculate golf course. It was about a stolen painting, a missing rockstar, sorrel-hungry wankers, and indestructible Russian mobsters. Like everyday life. Then nothing. Si: a spy pantalonnade, a remix of the myth of the Round Table and Aladdin’s cave. A page had turned. Like a farewell. Fortunately, Ritchie is back in business. And this is serious. Silent henchman, crooked journalist, evil lovers, mafia (Chinese this time), highly trained thugs, and lush forest of marijuana … It had to be all on the table for Guy Ritchie to prove that he is not come back to chuckle. The director has a title to collect. What could be better than going back to basics and regaining the energy of the beginnings?
ALL DRESSED TWEED
The Gentlemen follows in the line of Scams, Crimes, and Botany, Snatch and RockNRolla. His informal trilogy celebrating the association of criminals while elevating idiocy to the rank of art. There has always been a shift in Ritchie: the gangster figure is never fantasized and omnipotent. Under the leadership of the trendy filmmaker, the margins look like little scoundrels coming out of a Cheech & Chong with fish & chips sauce. Resourceful, more or fewer morons, failed versions of Michael Caine in The Law of the Middle. Like Matthew McConaughey, who thanks to The Gentlemenreiterates a new artistic resurrection. The Texan expatriate finds here a more English role than a native Englishman. As a drug lord, dressed all in tweed, he stands out as the übergangster according to Saint Ritchie. An aging lion has fallen prey to bigger predators wanting to dethrone him, the con artist who unleashes his revenge as he takes tea. A purely Ritchien hero who would not have denied the filmmaker’s ex-pygmalion, Jason Statham, if he had not made his place (and his butter) in nagging action films.
The other strength of Guy Ritchie’s cinema, alongside his gallery of picturesque and azimutured characters, has always been this ability to go in all directions while controlling his slippages. The filmmaker’s tales are as complex to follow as the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. Organized chaos, from rooster to donkey, or rather from coke to arms, zigzagging like the pillar of the pub next door. Which has chained too many pints of Guinness. In The GentlemenGuy Ritchie twists the game a bit more, adding a movie meta frenzy to the movie. A smoky mise en abyme where we learn the unfolding of events at the same time (even sometimes in advance). As our own protagonists obsessed by their financial interests. The film is created before our eyes. A convoluted technique that the director uses to prove again that he is the crack of the intertwined intrigues and at the same time to make forget the recent indigestible films which one seems to have ordered him (with a gun on the temple?). By returning to the origins of his cinema, Guy Ritchie rediscovers all his panache of yesteryear. A prosperous and creative era when his detractors saw in him only a British decal of Quentin Tarantino. Let it be said, it is indeed back to its best.