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My Grapefruit Shandy

The Gentlemen

I can't remember whether the previous Guy Ritchie film I saw was Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch. I do remember that it was very cleverly plotted, well-acted, quick-witted and quick-moving, and at least half-funny in its depiction of the British underworld. The Gentlemen is very much the same, and I enjoyed it. But there is something not quite right in treating rather vicious criminals as witty and glamorous, and imparting a light-hearted quality to acts of violence. It's all done with an ironic wink, which I guess is better than doing it seriously, but still, it seems unhealthy. 

Hugh Grant has a strikingly not-his-usual-brand role as a creepy cockney private investigator/extortionist (at least it's a departure from what I know of him). And Michelle Dockery, previously known to me only as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey, plays an underworld queen--"cockney Cleopatra," I think is the way she's described. She really is as extremely, almost weirdly thin as she appeared to be in all those fancy Downton clothes. Too thin to be really movie-star-beautiful, in my personal opinion, which is clearly not the currently fashionable one. This character retains the acid tongue as well.

Also, according to several reviews cited by Wikipedia, it's racist. I can't say the charge is totally unjustified, as it has Jewish and Chinese characters with some stereotypical attributes. And there's even a joke involving "l" and "r". But as it's all wrapped in a layer of irony and detachment so that it didn't seem invidious to me. 

Speaking of stereotyping, I watched a Marvel movie with my grandchildren a few nights ago, Guardians of the Galaxy 2. It's surprising that even now the Supreme Evil character speaks with an English accent, and many of the gang of violent and mostly stupid outlaws talk like southern rednecks. 



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I really like this movie -- I think it's the best thing Ritchie's done since Snatch (although my favorite is still Lock, Stock...). For some reason I don't fine Ritchie's violence as offensive as I do Tarantino's. Part of it is that it's less graphic, but I also think that Ritchie's not the misanthrope that Tarantino sometimes seems to be. And I like Ritchie's sense of humor more too -- it's not as dark to me.

You're right about Hugh Grant -- very different character than usual, but he was great at it. And I loved Colin Farrell as The Coach -- great role for him. I read somewhere that Ritchie had originally had Kate Beckinsale in mind for for the female lead but she couldn't do it for some reason, so he got Michelle Dockery instead. Beckinsale would have been interesting, though, as she's a lot closer to M. McConnaughey in age.

Anyways, as much as I like the film it's a tough one to recommend unreservedly because of the language and the violence. But despite that I think it is extremely entertaining.

Extremely entertaining, definitely. It’s brilliant. But there’s just that nagging uneasiness for me.

Yeah, I hear you. Like with Lynch, but different.

Thinking about it more, it’s not the violence as such but the “they’re so cool” treatment of the gangsters that accounts for my reservations.

Your small paragraph on GofG2 was amusing to me. Almost but not quite a non sequitur. I do need to see The Gentlemen!

It was an aside. :-)

I haven't visited the blog in a couple of months, but I just wanted to let you know that I lost an hour of the morning to picking up "Sunday Light" for what was intended to be five minutes. The writing stands up well a decade later.

I deeply appreciate that, as I've often thought I wasted a lot of time and money publishing it. Thank you. And good to hear from you.

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