6 January 2020

A Lock Stock From The Boomer Generation

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Cunt, cunt, cunt, yadah, yadah, yadah, and then something offensive about a minority. That's pretty much a perfect summary of mockney berk Guy Ritchie's latest offering of cinematic cobblers. I should tell you what happens in The Gentlemen but then I'm not sure there'd be much left of the film for you to enjoy. Which is assuming there was anything there in the first place? Or maybe I'm being too harsh. It's a Guy Ritchie movie and so there's always a cool soundtrack. There might not be much worth seeing here but like a blind person that's developed an increased sense of hearing, Ritchie usually provides something fun for the old King Lears. That's rhyming slang for ears, by the way. Obviously. Rhyming slang has always seemed pretty pointless to me because all it does is change the keyword of the sentence with a usually more random and dumb one that sounds so close to the original that you could probably still guess it. Saying 'custard and jelly' instead of 'telly' doesn't make you sound cool and if you intend to use it as a code then I'm guessing we won't be needing Alan Turing any time fucking soon. It's also just like how Guy Ritchie's gangster films are all essentially rhyming slang for The Long Good Friday. They're the same thing but with a few details slightly tweaked in the presumed hope that it might not be noticed by the more easily baffled amongst us. Does “Dog and Bone” mean telephone? Nah guv. Course it doesn't, now you carry on and mind your business. Is there a shot involving a characters fate in The Gentlemen that's a direct rip-off of the superior The Long Good Friday's iconic conclusion? Err... just you watch it you daffy or I'll fucking spanner you right in your fucking mug, okay?!

The Gentlemen is structured around a conversation between a journalist who thinks he's smarter than he looks, and a gangster that we're meant to think is smarter than he is. Hugh Grant sits Charlie Hunnam down and explains what he knows to him about Matthew McConaughey's plans to retire as a weed kingpin. Although as good looking as Matthew McConaughey might be, I'm not sure that I'd believe him as a man that would ever give any weed away for any price and that's even if all I'd seen of him was his stoner-esque reflection in a puddle of piss and from a fucking distance. This knowledge of his retirement and the details surrounding it is Hugh Grant's leverage as he attempts to blackmail those involved out of what he considers to be a small but fair percent of their bread and honey. Money. It's still obvious. Imagine Interview With The Vampire but if you swapped gothic horror for a diamond geezer caper and vampires for a collection of smug, white arse-holes who exude such an air of self-satisfaction that they may as well be trotting up the apples and pears for a J.Arthur in the bathroom mirror. Err. That means they're wanking over themselves. I suppose that one's a bit less obvious. But it's also what I think Guy Ritchie is kind of doing as I sort of get the vibe that he thinks he's one of the hard-man toffs that he's glorifying in this movie. I don't have any evidence for that claim. But Charlie Hunnam's character is dressed so similarly to the director that, unless he fears assassination and wanted a few doubles on set to confuse his attacker, then this film just has to be Ritchie's way of spooging onto his own fucking face.

Having only shat on it so far though I have to say that I do quite admire Ritchie for having made The Gentlemen. It might feel like a lifetime since his last film but that's only because we all seem to have collectively agreed to already forget about last year's live-action Aladdin. He even made a King Arthur movie fairly recently which was only worth watching for the line “you're trying to get me to do something razzle-dazzle with that sword”. But it hasn't been since 2008's RocknRolla that we last saw him dabble in this gangster genre for which he made his name and I applaud him for having resisted the urge for so long. It's his default setting and so like a man holding in a shit at a funeral, I say well done. This is Ritchie on his hands and knees and hoping to God that his original fanbase still remembers that he exists. There's also no denying that this kind of London-centric crime yarn does have an audience and if Danny Dyer's filmography is proof of anything it's that these kinds of films are generally a steaming pile of wank. To Ritchies credit his gangster films at least look like they were made by somebody who has at least seen a movie which can't be said of most of the others. And that's even if it is just that one film he's seen in which Bob Hoskin's iconically claims, “the mafia? I've shit 'em”. 

It's not a huge brag to make but Guy Ritchie is the current Daddy of this generally crap sub-genre and even a lesser effort such as The Gentlemen is a sock full of snooker balls to the face of something like 2019's Once Upon A Time In London. I imagine. I haven't seen Once Upon A Time In London but its poster brags that it got five stars from The Daily Sport which is a bit like an estate agent using a bucket of their own excrement to smear “For Sale” onto the walls of a dilapidated crack-den after dragging out the blue, bloated corpses of its former fucking tenants. The poster for The Gentlemen doesn't have any reviews on it but I'm guessing that's because Ritchie is aware of his more loyal fanbase and doesn't want them hurting themselves as they attempt to read it. Although I say all of this as a sort of fan of his too. Or at least I'm a fan of him as a director. I like Guy Ritchie's movies when they're not marketed as a Guy Ritchie film. Sherlock Holmes is a really good example of this and I and will fight to the death with anybody that dares to criticise his under-rated and brilliant The Man From U.N.C.L.E. This is a sentiment that he clearly agrees with having placed a poster for it in a key scene in this movie. Arrogant piece of shit. My problem with Ritchie is as a writer, with it usually being his gangster films, as is the case here, in which he works from his own scripts. The actors do what they can to make their characters watchable but there's only so much you can do when they're written to be about as two-dimensional as a pie and liquor's tic-tac under a massive windjammer... A vicar's sack under a massive hammer

The biggest problem of the film though is in the way that it so frequently resorts to racism when it's searching for a laugh. I guess that it would argue that these characters are bad people and so it's perfectly in keeping with their low morals to use the terms and language that they do when describing various ethnicities. But rather than playing the laugh as being at the expense of their ignorance, the film seems to want us to enjoy the ballsiness of their political incorrectness. It would probably also argue that rather than targeting one group, the film is insulting everybody with its offensiveness spraying everywhere like a dick with an extra hole in it. Not that being an equal opportunity offender has ever seemed like much of an excuse to me. Nor would it be strictly true in this case would it? Because the film might insult everybody from Asians to black people but it forgets to include straight white males in this too. The Gentleman is a Lock Stock from the boomer generation. It's angry, it's muddled, and it thinks it's better than anybody that's different to it. Guy Ritchie might be the current king of turd hill but that doesn't hide the fact that this territory fucking stinks. Lads mags readers will probably find this to be a bit of a bubble bath... a laugh. But for the rest of us, it's just a little bit Tommy Tit... shit. Obviously. It'll never not be obvious what this Tommy Rollocks.. bollocks.. means. What a stupid fucking language and what a stupid fucking film. Thanks for reading motherfuckers and see you next time. 

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