“The Gentlemen” (STX)

Henry Golding, Matthew McConaughey and Charlie Hunnam star in a scene from the movie "The Gentleman." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/STXfilms)

By Catholic News Service

Darkly sophisticated, but sometimes wildly wayward crime saga from writer-director Guy Ritchie.

A British private detective (Hugh Grant) hired by the editor (Eddie Marsan) of a London tabloid to investigate an American-born drug kingpin (smooth Matthew McConaughey) recounts to the gangster’s loyal consigliere (Charlie Hunnam) the complex web of facts he’s uncovered surrounding the boss’ effort to sell his massive marijuana operation (to Jeremy Strong). His narrative, which also takes in the rivalry of two ethnic Chinese underworld figures (Tom Wu and Henry Golding), the part played by a boxing coach (Colin Farrell) whose pupils double as thugs, and the role of the crime lord’s beloved wife (Michelle Dockery), is pitched as the opening salvo in a blackmail scheme.

An energetic pace, witty exchanges and the effective spinning of the plot’s many wheels-within-wheels cannot compensate for the lighthearted outlook on brutal mayhem that marks this well-crafted but amoral film.

Pervasive violence with much gore, including an attempted rape, implied aberrant sexual behavior, a narcotics theme, relentless rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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