It’s nice to see that Guy Ritchie still has it in terms of his personally patented, now iconic British gangster arena. Experimented with in Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, cultivated further in Snatch (my personal favourite of his) and tooled around with in other directions for his extremely underrated RocknRolla, here he returns to that drawing board for The Gentlemen and although this isn’t a film that breaks the mould or comes up with anything bright n’ shiny new, I had way more fun than I thought I was going to and it’s a winner for me. Carrying on the nice culture clash element we have a ferocious Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson, a self made marijuana billionaire looking to sell his lucrative empire to a cunning Jewish businessman (Jeremy Strong) while the young hothead boss (the dude from Crazy Rich Asians, who is way richer and actually crazy here) of a London based Asian syndicate seeks to muscle in on both of them. Pearson’s cool cucumber left hand lieutenant Ray (Charlie Hunnam in the first performance I’ve believed and enjoyed his work) tries to keep all the pieces on the board where they should be instead of running amok and causing havoc, which they inevitably do and would it really be a Ritchie film without wanton chaos and a string of hysterical fuck-ups? Hugh Grant looks up the Oxford definition of ‘fucking scene stealer’ and proceeds to steal the fucking scene every minute he’s onscreen as Fletcher, a super fabulous, highly sleazy wild card tabloid reporter looking to line his own pockets via blackmail most foul. Add in perennial oddball Eddie Marsan, Sting’s visually striking daughter Coco Sumner, an informant named ‘Phuc’ (snigger), Michelle Dockery as Mickey’s leggy and disarmingly badass cockney wife/partner in crime and Colin Farrell in character actor mode as a rough n’ tumble Irish boxing coach with a heart of gold and you’ve got one solid roster. Ritchie has a way with dialogue that might not be lifelike but never fails to have me hanging on every syllable, it’s like musical protein for me ears and he didn’t disappoint here. I mean it’s probably bottom of the list in terms of the other gangster stuff but his career so far is kind of tough to top and this one struck me as a ‘hangout movie’ of sorts with some action and trademark visceral violence peppered in here and there. Terrific costume work too, I saw at least five suits I would love to get my hands on. Easy, breezy, vividly characterized, laidback, refreshingly and deliberately anti-politically correct humour (always a plus), banging soundtrack, this one rocks! Oh and it’s not the first Ritchie film to promise us a sequel that feels like it’ll never show up, but that may just be a cheeky running joke from the guy.