The Gentlemen episode 1-3 review | Guy Ritchie’s spin-off gets off to a hilarious start

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In the first few episodes of Guy Ritchie’s spin-off to his film of the same name, things get off to a chaotic but amusing start. Here’s our review of The Gentlemen episodes 1-3. 

Guy Ritchie’s 2019 film The Gentlemen seems unlikely to have spawned a Netflix spin-off series, but that’s exactly what it has done. Not that the eight episode Netflix series has anything to do with the film aside from the vague notion that it’s set in the same universe and also features a lot of drugs. 

The first episode, which is directed by Ritchie himself, introduces us to the Horniman family. The family patriarch has just died and to everyone’s surprise, he’s leaving the family estate to his youngest son Eddie (Theo James) instead of the drug-addicted  Freddy (Daniel Ings). 

Eddie soon discovers that there is a pretty extensive weed farm underneath the property, run by the formidable Susie Glass (an excellent Kaya Scodelario). Eddie is keen on getting rid of any illegal activities on his property, but is forced to get involved with the nasty business of drugs. 

the gentlemen kaya scodelario (1)
Credit: Netflix

The first episode ends on a hilariously silly, yet gory note. The whole episode plays out almost like a Shakespearean comedy, or perhaps a tragedy, just with more swearing and constant references to the size of people’s cocks. The Gentlemen isn’t quite as raunchy or audacious as this might lead you to believe and the early episodes are plagued by Ritchie’s maximalist, bombastic filmmaking style, but there is a lot of fun to be had here. 

Read more: The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare | New trailer for Guy Ritchie’s WWII thriller

The Gentlemen offers few surprises for Ritchie’s fans. Each episode follows the same formula: Eddie is forced to steal or help get rid of something, only to find himself embroiled in senseless violence. Don’t get me wrong, the first three episodes are wildly entertaining, but for the remainder of the series, one hopes that there’s some variation to the plot. 

James is a likeable protagonist. The first episode introduces Eddie as an army man, which explains why he’s better at dealing with the violent repercussions of having a weed farm in your cellar. Unfortunately, Eddie is also a bit of a bland protagonist in a show that otherwise leans on the ridiculous. 

James is also helplessly overshadowed by Ings as Freddy. The first two episodes especially let him loose, and Ings jumps at the opportunity to be silly and over the top. Peter Serafinowicz also does a wonderful Liverpool accent in his short stint in the series. 

Episode 3 ramps up the plot as we find Susie’s hapless weed farmer Jimmy (Michael Vu) fall head over heels in love with Ruby Sears’ Gabrielle, who may not be as innocent as she appears. Jimmy, bless his soul, is a lovable idiot, but an idiot nonetheless. Ritchie, who co-wrote the season with Matthew Read, has always revelled in over the top characters, but in The Gentlemen, the writer-director is pushing his luck. 

None of the first three episodes of The Gentlemen come close to the sharpness of Ritchie’s earlier work, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy them. There’s absolutely nothing going on underneath the surface of The Gentlemen, but it’s indulgent fun. It also shows Ritchie at his most relaxed, something that has been missing from his later work. 

So far, The Gentlemen is decent, but it never soars. The first three episodes are entertaining but painfully formulaic. We’ll see how the following episodes develop as we review episodes 4 and 5 next. 

The Gentlemen is now streaming on Netflix. 

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