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The Gentlemen (2024)- Susie and Eddie

'The Gentlemen' Is a Blast for Fans of Guy Ritchie's Formula

By Lindsay Traves | TV | March 11, 2024 |

By Lindsay Traves | TV | March 11, 2024 |


The Gentlemen (2024)- Susie and Eddie

Master of the caper full of a collection of compounding calamities, Guy Ritchie, stumbled a bit in 2019’s The Gentlemen to modernize his signature style. It wasn’t that the film was a failure, but it reflected the worst versions of Ritchie’s bombastic filmography and is mostly held together by an exciting premise and hammy performances. For his newest outing, and on the other side of the “hell yeah” features, Operation Fortune and Wrath of Man, Ritchie’s been given another shot at adapting his logline about British nobility turning to lives of crime to afford the upkeep on their massive estates.

Theo James leads as but one of the titular gentlemen, Eddie, who is pulled from his military deployment when his father passes and unexpectedly leaves his estate and Dukeship to him, and not his older brother, Freddy (Daniel Ings as THE ELDEST BOY). The reluctant Duke soon realizes his father’s estate comes with more than just stables and an expensive staff, but also an underground marijuana farm necessary for managing the family’s debts. Managed by the sharp yet inviting Susie Glass (Kaya Scodelario), is a massive weed operation taking advantage of the family’s vast estate, one that Eddie swears makes him queasy but that sees him blending his skills of warfare into the successful management of the disasters that come with having an addict brother, overwhelming expenses, and a criminal enterprise that everyone wants to rip from under them.

Over eight episodes, Ritchie and co tell the tale of an unlikely and insecure duo in Susie and Eddie, who clunk heads with a gallery of rogues trying to keep both their joint and individual personal and business interests protected. As anyone who’s seen Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels can attest, there will be no shortage of twists and turns that land the pair in hotter water than they woke up in that morning. This isn’t a first for Ritchie, Lock, Stock… and Snatch having been adapted into series years prior, but it’s another opportunity to address whether his style of stuffing in hiccups and quirky characters works in an episodic format. Like its predecessors, The Gentlemen isn’t the same characters or story, but an adaptation of a core idea and appearance for a different format. For the most part, it does work, each episode functioning not so much as a standalone caper, but a specific problem to be solved that follows a proper trajectory that ends at a somewhat reasonable place with an open door for more. Where the approach becomes imperfect is the centering of Eddie and Susie, who are often in trouble yet seem to have no shortage of solutions. Further, their loyalties seem to change for story convenience, especially near the series close. For a show about grasping onto cash lest someone’s life be lost, they’ve always got a steady flow of the stuff to make sure they can handle each problem as it arises. Yeah, Susie’s years in the business and skills in creating connections make it believable that she’s always one phone call away from a solution, but the bags of cheddar cheese getting them out of money-chasing jams are all too convenient.

While the hammy performances of Ritchie’s yore have worked previously, this series is better elevated with its more distinctive performances surrounded only by hammy secondary characters. Scodelario is cracking as the stoic princess of crime who is ironically, for the most part, the most honorable in a collection of alleged gentlemen. James needs to dial down his posh accent a smidge lest we continue to hear his labored inhales before each spoken line, but he’s effective as the scrappier man of nobility without distracting us by being too much of a leading man. If this is a James Bond audition, he’s proven his great at this and would be bad at that.

Though this version is lacking in the films’ usual needle-drops, frequent Ritchie collaborator Christopher Benstead brings a score and themes for certain character pairings that are a playful addition to the scenes and add a sense of cohesion to the characters’ substories.

Ritchie (along with a list of writers and directors on the series) has crafted a less bloody and less outrageous take on his usual, one that almost feels scrubbed for television despite landing on a streamer. Though it’s not any less violent nor lacking in the sorts of twists and turns that would stress out even the coolest heads of a vanilla British lead. Ritchie’s propensity to build stories around gangsters, gambling, and gnarly boxing (I reached for that alliteration, I know), leads him to create another “same but different” sort of tale that’s a pleasurable and lower stakes take on his type of story. The intensity of his “classics” isn’t always there as the leads feel too invincible, but that’s probably for the best as it’d be difficult to sustain that level of stress for an eight-ish hour watch. For The Gentlemen, Ritchie has expanded the film’s story by applying the premise for a new set of fantastical circumstances. In one way, it’s an unearned second kick at the can. In another, it’s a clever way of adapting a movie to television without rehashing the old, even if it reaches into the director’s same bag of tricks.

The Gentlemen streams on Netflix March 7, 2024