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Brief thoughts on The Gentlemen (2019) and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

genre: action, comedy, crime

Recently I rewatched The Gentlemen on a whim with the intention to review it right after. And for some reason, I really didn't want to. Most likely this was also the reason the first time I watched this. 

So what's the problem? The acting and performances are good to excellent. Guy Ritchie's style is also present. It's this unique combo of comedy with serious criminal events. Although there are less comedy elements than in his previous films. Plot wise, though, this film is a mess. I get that Ritchie is trying to evoke tension and wants to create a sense of suspense. It's there but is kind of pointless since events are utterly predictable. I mean, it's obvious who the lead is and that he is going to be bulletproof all the way. 

For a one time watch, The Gentlemen will entertain, but it's clearly not on the same level as Lock Stock... and Snatch for example.

A few months ago I decided to revisit Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I wanted to see if it still holds up. It's a Guy Ritchie classic for sure. However, after multiple viewings, you will find flaws that could detract from the viewing experience.

If you watch this for the first time, the film will be a blast. But for someone like me who has seen this one several times, there are some elements I didn't like. Like, for example, the fact that there are too many characters in the film. They all have their little plots who also have their part in the main story one way or another. But some characters easily could have been left out without ruining the plot. I think, the time that would have been spared could have been used to deepen the main characters. Most characters also are incredibly stupid for professional criminals. I get that this is done for comic relief, and yes, it's the one thing that makes it fun the first time you watched it. But after multiple viewings, it gets tiresome real quick. 

That being said, there is an energy and style to the film that will draw you in. The soundtrack and the visuals combined do give this film an edge. Despite this, you will start looking at the clock eventually. The pacing is especially painful towards the ending. Like Ritchie didn't know how to finish. 

Definitely a title you should watch if you are a fan of Guy Ritchie. But this might not be for everyone.

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