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Total Film
Total Film
Megan Garside

Netflix’s The Gentlemen review: “Fun, but nothing we haven’t seen before from Guy Ritchie”

The Gentlemen.

When Netflix announced its upcoming series from Guy Ritchie, spun off from one of his most recent films The Gentlemen, I was a little skeptical about how the director would transfer his trademark tangled tales of cockney crimes and grimy gangsters onto the small screen. But through the use of a great cast, relatable social commentary, and humor, The Gentleman series lives up to what fans expect from Ritchie, despite being nothing we haven't seen from the director before.   

Series vs. Movie

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix’s The Gentlemen flips the script on the movie and focuses on the posh toffs whose land is being used for criminal activity. The series follows The White Lotus’ Theo James as Duke Eddie Horniman who inherits his father’s country estate, only to find a cannabis empire is being run from underneath the ground by Susie Glass, played by Skins’ Kaya Scodelario, the daughter of infamous kingpin Bobby Glass (Ray Winstone). In an attempt to rid his family of the unwanted operation, Eddie dives further into the underworld of criminality and begins to find a taste for it.

From the sleek costuming to the riddled language, it is pretty obvious the series is from the mind of the man who brought us the 2019 flick. Spinning off from that movie is an immense task, but rather than rehashing the exact story (which I am so glad they decided not to do), the series tells the tale through Eddie’s eyes. By doing this we see a different side to the business and more importantly, get a look at how the different classes from the traveling community to the elite interact, which we only got a small taste of in the film. 

However, certain aspects of the series feel like a cheap copy of the film. At first glance, Susie Glass looks like a carbon copy of the movie’s cockney princess played by Michelle Dockery, from her stylish appearance, the Louboutins, and even the accent. Similarly, the villain in both stories is portrayed by a wealthy American who uses money and social class to try and outsmart the criminals. Because of this, some of the twists and turns in the show are easy to predict and take the fun out of it. In this sense, the show feels a bit ‘been there done that’, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing as the formula works, we just know what's coming. 

Theo and Kaya steal the show

(Image credit: Netflix)

The show’s dazzling ensemble from Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito to Ritchie veteran Vinnie Jones, truly carries the series, not to mention James and Scodelario completely stealing the show.

This is a very different role for James, who we are used to seeing in action franchises such as Divergent and other drama series. Eddie is a multi-layered character, who at first look seems like any other privileged elite we are used to seeing on screen such as in Saltburn, but changes the further he delves into the Glass’ world of depravity. In previous Ritchie projects, we see the higher class as somewhat clueless and reliant on their criminal counterparts, not wanting to get their own hands dirty, but Eddie's character offers a different perspective.

Scodelario’s Susie Glass mimics Dockery’s sardonic nature and elegance, but throughout the eight-part series, we see many sides to the female lead that the movie didn't have time to delve into. Susie is something of a chameleon, she maneuvers between high-society and dirty dealings effortlessly, but at times we see the strain the business and the pressures from her family have on her. Just like with James’ Eddie, we haven’t had a character quite like Susie before in a Ritchie flick, or even if we have, the confines of a movie haven't allowed the filmmaker to fully explore the feminine side of his crime genre. 

A treat for Guy Ritchie fans

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Gentlemen isn't the only flick of the legendary filmmakers that gets referenced during the series. If anything, the show is a whats-what of Ritchie’s discovery. From the outdoor barbeque used by Bobby Glass that calls back to Hunnam’s character in The Gentlemen, to the traveling gang who exert similar behavior and traits to Brad Pitt’s character in Snatch. In this sense, it feels like this series is truly made for Ritchie fans and plays homage to his past work rather than remaking it. 

On top of this, we are treated to an appearance from one of Ritchie’s top dogs Vinnie Jones who has starred in the likes of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch as a fearsome criminal. It would have been easy to typecast Jones but in The Gentleman, he plays a rather peaceful and complex gamekeeper who adds yet another layer of complexity to Eddie’s family life. 

All in all, the Netflix series may not shock and surprise viewers in terms of originality, but for Ritchie fans, The Gentlemen is a welcomed trip down memory lane into familiar territory with references to the legendary filmmaker's iconic movies and British crime genre. The Gentlemen series exhibits everything we love about Ritchie movies, just in an extended format. 

The Gentlemen hits Netflix on March 7, 2024. For more, check out our list of the best Netflix shows available to stream right now, or keep up to date with new TV shows

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