As the title of this movie implies this film is most definitely tailored to a male audience and with Guy Ritchie as director this is no surprise. In sum, Guy likes making guys movies – namely crime capers – a genre that put him on Hollywood’s map! But females may like this movie too as Ritchie’s films are typically full of good-looking men (this one included) due to his ‘fascination with the male ego and macho bonding’. A pleasant bonus for lady viewers no doubt. Ritchie also normally manages to drop in a few humorous elements; a nice treat for all. That said, this film has more of a hardcore edgy approach with some seriously disturbing content and some gratuitous violence. Ordinarily not my type of movie but with the recent film freeze due to Covid-19 newer cinematic selections are wearing thin. That aside, this movie is captivating enough with a stellar cast and some pretty good life lessons to pass along too.
On this point, there are understated themes of ‘honor amongst thieves’ and degrees of loyalty woven in. Though what stuck in my mind the most about this picture was the inconceivable cost these men pay to climb and stay on top of the success ladder. It’s easy to understand and appreciate ambition but when the business is a shady setup, the questionable lengths required are beyond most people’s comprehension. In short, gentlemen they are not! To be a true gentleman, one needs to be a ‘chivalrous, courteous, honorable man’, which isn’t easy when running an extremely lucrative high-stakes illegal grow-op. Deviance vs. Decency; corruption corrupts – plain and simple. This is human nature – or is it? It might help to remember that the root of most evil is grounded in excessive self-preoccupation of one’s own wants over the well-being of others; and that external acts of debauchery are only expressed when internal seeds of malice are planted in the heart/soul; nurtured and ‘allowed’ to grow. Only then is the game ‘kill or be killed’ where the players are takers with agendas so slippery; it’s like trying to catch oil in a sieve. Dirty money has always attracted dark creatures and it’s ugly, unscrupulous, dishonest, foul, and soiled. It makes you wonder who would ever pursue such an exhausting vicious cut-throat self-interested existence in real life. Yikes. I’d rather be poor with a clear conscience and able to sleep in peace – than with the fishes! Always take the high road – the view is spectacular.
Speaking of nice scenery, this movie in set in England (one of my favorite places) and opens with sophisticated intelligent yet seedy drug lord Mickey Pearson (played by Matthew McConaughey) entering a typical neighborhood pub. As he sits quietly at a table gunfire erupts. Then without explanation viewers are left to wonder about his survival until the end of the film. I like stories that start with the ending first then walks the audiences back in time to see what led up to the current dramatic moments. The English musical Blood Brothers does this brilliantly, and similar to this popular West-End play, differences in social class are weighted heavily in this movie with a smidgen of racism thrown in just for fun (not). It’s a basic ‘kill what you eat and eat what you kill’ type of film. The story takes viewers on a walk through the circle of developments that shapes the yarn. Without giving too much away Hugh Grant who plays Fletcher, a sleazy despicable evasive night-crawler tabloid type journalist turned screenwriter thinks he’s got the goods on Mickey and is trying his hand at blackmail to turn a quick buck/quid. It’s a long winding road that includes likable mobsters’ Coach (played by Colin Farrell) and loyalist Raymond (played by Charlie Hunnam) as well as Mickey’s wife Rosalind (played by Michelle Dockery) whom he is lovingly and completely devoted to – his one redeeming quality. In the end the path narrative leads back to the incident at the pub and then the whole story ties up in a perfect bow and the tale all makes sense. Walla! Clean and simple. Well maybe not clean. ha ha
P.S. I crossed paths with Colin Farrell in London at Heathrow Airport in 2015. His movie The Lobster filmed in Dublin was just coming out and he was featured in Men’s Health Magazine, so he was having a good year. He looked like he just came right from his Cover Shoot – wearing jeans and a white T-shirt looking handsome as the ‘black Irish’ do with their dark hair and brown eyes, and he was just getting his arm tattoos removed. It’s a process so they were faded but still visible and given his sleeves were rolled right up it seemed to be irritating him. Ouch. Notwithstanding, I must say he’s a really sweet guy and it was nice to run into him. He was overly apologetic about autograph seekers that chased him relentlessly, though he was very polite to his fans, which I thought was most kind. Bless.