The Gentlemen by Guy Ritchie [8/10]

Guy Ritchie is back! Who could forget “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” from two decades ago? Entering the cinema, I wondered whether “The Gentlemen” could reprise that whipsaw, amoral swagger. The opening scene, in which a seedy journalist (wonderfully played by Hugh Grant, with a Cockney lilt no less!) sets up the movie’s elaborate framing with the core gangster’s consigliere, requires momentary patience, as does the next sequence of Matthew McConaughey voice-over narration, but from then, wham, bang, pow, it’s vintage Ritchie without letup. Who is double-crossing whom? Who will survive the mayhem? I guffawed with delight during several scenes. McConaughey is in fine form but super acting flows from Charlie Hunnam, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, and Henry Golding, as well as countless bit players. The music is tops, the violence is choreographed without fault, and that special winner-takes-all amorality (with a touch of heart) pervades the entire film. “The Gentlemen” flows as one superb cinematic treat.

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