A Shout Ignored: A Review of “The Gentlemen”

By Charleston Nabob

The news out of the United Kingdom is not good. The Sceptred Isle, with skies as couple-colored as a brinded cow, is now no more. The skies are gray, and the people too.

When I read the census and the many reactions, I was reminded of a movie released just three years ago: Guy Ritchie’s “The Gentlemen.” It received no fanfare, no prolonged launch campaign. No one I know speaks of seeing it, contrasting with Guy Ritchie’s previous fare which have received cult status. Why I watched it, I cannot recall. Likely curious, bored with scrolling the streaming services and settling with a director who, last I watched, scuffed the Arthurian adaptation.

This movie, I was surprised to find, entertained. I laughed with my brother as we rewatched scenes, found myself praising certain performances. However, upon further thought combined with the news of the UK’s census, I could no longer see the humor, and could only see just how helpless we may be.

“The Gentlemen” is far from subtle. There is an American drug dealer, dealing strictly in weed, played by Matthew McConaughey. The beginning traces his rise as the premier dealer of sticky icky in England after dropping out of Oxford. He deploys violence, manipulation, and his ever-flowing charm to secure the top. At his side, always standing by for his command, is the strapping Englishman Raymond Smith, played by Charlie Hunam. The first extended scene with McConaughey consists of him driving his luxury SUV through the open fields of England complaining and insulting the locals, bemoaning their neighborliness, the laws allowing them to bird watch, to badger watch. All this cuts into his profits as a drug dealer and makes the operation more difficult.

Who is he telling this to? To a Jewish billionaire, played by Jeremy Strong, who is interested in purchasing the operation. We are warned at a dinner by the wife of the American drug lord not to trust him, from one Jew about another. Yes, the American is married to a Cockney Jewish woman.

Too obvious? Well, allow Guy Ritchie to slather on some Neo-Con paranoia! The antagonist is a high-energy Chinese fellow intent on displacing McConaughey. He initially offers to buy, but McConaughey is reluctant to sell—least of all to some new upstart. This creates animosity obvious to both parties, heightening hostilities and the likelihood of a turf war.

Not seeing it yet? Guy Ritchie seals it when camera-toting minorities break into the most profitable marijuana farm and steal the loot. How did they find it, McConaughey wonders. Someone must have told them—but who? The initial suspect is the Chinese gang, but it is revealed later it was the Jewish billionaire who hired this racial mélange to lower the value of the drug operation.

Again, I was entertained. How could Guy Ritchie make such an overtly racist, anti-semitic, and anti-Global American Empire (but the first qualifier may make this redundant) movie? I went immediately to the reviews from popular media. I could find no one who saw any of this—not a one! Instead, they bemoaned the lack of focus on the wife’s all-female autobody shop; they cried that it was the Chinese gangster, not the American, who attempts an act of sexual violence. None could see it for what it was: a scathing English rebuke of the American Empire, of alien powers, of the displacement of the people of Britain.

Upon news of the census, I was reminded of this movie and the reviews, all lacking any insight of the kind I have written. How could they not see? How was this movie made? How could the actors all be so ignorant unless they were in on it? I have come to the most likely conclusion: though the gatekeepers cannot see something hostile slip through, though the guards inside miss it, this small gang of saboteurs can do nothing, holding mere hammers and sticks, smacking an edifice of adamant.

“The Gentlemen” is worth a watch, mostly for Hugh Grant’s fantastic performance as a tabloid sexual deviant. But do not rejoice and think we are near to a break, to everyone seeing the world in a new light. We may have never been more in the dark.

Charleston Nabob can be found on Twitter @HolyCityFlaneur

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sawbuck57 says:

    Truly a gem of a film. Subversive as can be, but oh so well executed and sadly well over the heads of most viewers. I admit I laughed all the more deeply because the critics and most of the audience.


  2. Alex says:

    Looking at it now. I don’t see anything to get worked up about. Usual colorful glamorous thug in a kind of Tarantino Kill Bill style. Blacks do hip-hop acrobatics while, I guess, gang swarming. The characters are dull. There are numerous cutout rock video-type well designed scenes with groovy dudes in stereo-typed poses being cool, like dramatically removing sunglasses. There’s a dead man in a freezer. Looks (and sounds) like a Madonna video which makes sense considering the director’s background. I see no critique of modernism or anti-white establishment culture. Just a kind of glammed-up ersatz realism. The director does do form very well but content not so much. The trouble with these types of entertainment is that they are so self-consciously mocking themselves that the viewers can’t suspend disbelief. It’s a joke and you, the viewer, must status mark by being in on it. See?


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