The Gentlemen (2024) Review

The Gentlemen
After inheriting his family’s English country estate, former soldier Eddie (Theo James) moves in to oversee domestic affairs. When his brother Freddy (Daniel Ings) gets in too deep with a criminal organisation, however, Eddie finds himself caught up in something far more dangerous than he anticipated.

by Beth Webb |
Published on

There is always a safe feeling when watching a Guy Ritchie gangster flick. There’s the ragtag bunch of reliably foolish criminals, each with their own shtick. There’s a prize that can only be acquired via some thoroughly dodgy dealing. There’s some nifty editing. There’s a soundtrack that just won’t quit. This is a filmmaker who hits all the beats and then heads home, happy to not fix what ain’t broke.

The Gentlemen

Of course, the major change with The Gentlemen, small-screen edition — a spin-off of Ritchie’s 2019 film of the same name — is that it’s working within the far larger bandwidth of an eight-part miniseries (episodes range from 40 minutes to just over an hour in length). It’s the filmmaker’s first foray into serialised storytelling, with him directing the show’s first two episodes and co-writing the full season with Matthew Read. And yet even with reams of runtime at his disposal, Ritchie simply remixes his hit singles: more gangsters, more heists, infinitely more dialogue.

The show’s willingness to stick to a well-tested formula is at times its undoing.

As the protagonist, Theo James’ Eddie is a suitable straight arrow, suave but disgruntled as his day-to-day business becomes increasingly shady. No sooner has he been signed over the family cavernous estate and assumed childminding duties for his drug-addicted, pompous brother than he’s being given the grand tour of a weed empire housed underneath the mansion, a years-long operation overseen by Kaya Scodelario’s crime boss Susie, that’s now fallen under threat. In spite of her playing a supporting role, this is Scodelario’s show. She breezes through Susie’s meaty monologues, full of elaborate business lingo and lightly coated threats, with finesse; a patient presence amid an army of arses.

The show’s willingness to stick to a well-tested formula is at times its undoing. The pace lags, Ritchie’s usual speed flagging without the confines of a feature film, and the story is padded out by too much exposition (at times, hand-drawn crib notes scroll across the screen to summarise the deal playing out of screen, a touch as unnecessary as it is distracting). The show is momentarily saved by its slick set-pieces, like a neon-tinged study of the cultivation of weed, or the rapid handling of eye-watering amounts of money soundtracked by a distinctly Liverpudlian rap track. Perhaps a smaller number of episodes could have saved The Gentlemen from verging on disengaging. Instead, it scrapes by on playing Ritchie’s greatest hits.

Kaya Scodelario is the kingpin in this hyper-stylish though often wheel-spinning spin-off, which serves as proof that Ritchie should stick to shorter runtimes where he can.
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