Starring Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Rating: * ½ (one a half stars)
Some of the most distinguished British and American contemporary actors come together—and why should they not, when THE Guy Ritchie beckons?—for this mess of a movie where everyone seems to be doing something important and illegal.
Come to think of it, Guy Ritchie’s iconic film celebrates the orgasmic dynamics of social out-casteism with a glee and glint that most other lesser filmmakers would reserve for rom-coms. Like his peer Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie serenades the darkest shade of comedy with comic book candour.
The plot will make sense only to diehard Guy Ritchie fans. The very talented Matthew McConaughey (here in fine aggravated form) plays Mickey Pearson a drug dealer who deals only in marijuana because in his head, the other kinds of hallucinogenic elements kill the consumer. Drugs don’t.
Don’t even try to process such profound ideas. They belong to the Ritchie’s empire where resides the world’s most intellectually developed movie buffs.
Or so it is widely believed. But a more objective reading of this film reveals it to be nothing more than a global scam saga where the array of self-seeking closet-sociopaths try to outsmart one another in such minutely planned whoops of fraudulence that we are left slipping steeply down a slippery incline with nothing to hold on to.
A special characteristic of Guy Richie’s richly eccentric cinema is the splashy violence which recurs in unexpected bouts of anger and revulsion. Mickey’s story of how crooked was his endeavour to go straight, is littered with deception and counter-deception. He is a powerful drug lord who wants to sell-out his business not to the highest bidder, but to a bidder of his choice, that being Matthew Berger (played by a seemingly harmless Jeremy Strong). By the time the deal is ready to be closed, the film has moved through a complicated and confounding labyrinth of gangsters and scamsters who are quite often, the one and the same.
Somewhere else, in another part of Richie’s universe Mickey’s most trusted co-worker Raymond (Charlie Hunnam) carries on an ongoing dialogue with a private detective Fletcher (Hugh Grant). The two characters seem to serve as pseudo-narrators in a narrative which offers two surprises: Crazy Rich Asian’s clean cut lover boy Henry Golding as a mean sadistic Chinese criminal, and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery as Mickey’s most adored wife.
So what happens when the Golding character (named ‘Dry Eye’) tries to rape Mickey’s wife when Mickey suddenly arrives?
Expect the expected (and that’s the unexpected) in a Guy Richie film.