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In Theaters


Home Release Date




Emily Tsiao

Movie Review

Mickey Pearson is the “King of Marijuana” in the United Kingdom. There’s plenty of speculation about how he earned that title, but Mickey knows: “If you wish to be king of the jungle, it’s not enough to act like a king. You must be the king. There can be no doubt, because doubt causes chaos and one’s demise.”

Well, doubt is exactly what has been sown throughout his fields of green. With the UK on the cusp of legalizing marijuana, Mickey’s kingdom is in jeopardy. Because along with his empire, he’s also built a bit of a reputation—one based on special favors with the lords of the land and the occasional use of brute force.

Knowing that the “blood on his hands” will prevent him from selling his product as he has before once the drug is legal, he decides to get out of the game early. He plans to sell off his hidden manufacturing locations, along with his experts in the field and his contacts to dealers overseas to someone who doesn’t smell of “skunk.” And while that person profits off the business that Mickey cultivated, Mickey can retire to the sum of half a billion pounds.

That is, if he can stop the domino effect that threatens to topple his kingdom. Because after one of his warehouses is robbed, Mickey finds himself surrounded by chaos and on the brink of his own demise.

Positive Elements

Let there be no misunderstanding here: Mickey Pearson is not a good guy. He kills people, threatens their livelihoods, and runs an illegal drug business.

Now, with that disclaimer in place, he does do some good things. When the daughter of a lord he rents land from goes missing, he makes it his business to find the young woman and to bring her home safely to her parents. And after he discovers his wife is in danger, he races across town (putting his own life at risk) to rescue her.

A man who runs an MMA gym takes younger men who come there to train under his wing. He says that he trains them “to be good lads” and scolds them when they step out of line. At one point, when they steal marijuana from Mickey, he protects them from retribution by going to Ray (Mickey’s right-hand man) and taking responsibility for them, offering up his own loyalty as payment for the damage.

When Mickey neglects to put on his seatbelt in his hurry to save his wife, Ray leans over and puts it on for him so Mickey can focus on driving.

Spiritual Elements

A young man asks if his mentor is a gypsy seer (referencing tea leaves and crystal balls) after his mentor correctly guesses what he is about to say.

Sexual Content

A woman gropes her husband’s (clothed) groin. Cleavage is seen on a couple of women. Several people manufacture heroin wearing nothing but aprons over their undergarments. Porn and prostitution are mentioned in a list of vices.

We see a nude man covered by a blanket (his clothes are folded off to the side), and we learn that he was filmed having sex with a pig (under the influence of a strong drug). He screams offscreen after seeing the video, and two other men are shocked after viewing it as well.

Throughout the movie, a reporter named Fletcher seemingly flirts with and makes vulgar sexual comments toward Ray to make Ray uncomfortable. At one point, Fletcher puts his hand suggestively on Ray’s leg; Ray glares at him until he removes it.

We hear multiple crude references to sex, as well as male and female anatomy. Obscene hand gestures accompany several of these references. A newspaper headline accuses a married man of having sex with his male butler. Someone says they need to “put the gay back in Marvin Gaye.”

Violent Content

Several people are shot, both on- and offscreen, with each shooting accompanied by a splattering of blood. One man tries to crawl away after getting shot in the groin. After getting shot point-blank in the head with a tiny bullet, a victim reaches up and touches the wound before he topples over dead.

When a woman runs out of bullets in her gun, a man tackles her. He throws her over a desk before picking her up by her hair and forcing her to bend over it. He uses his feet to spread her legs, but before the presumed sexual assault occurs, her husband arrives to save her and shoot the man.

A young man is knocked out of a window after he hits one of Mickey’s henchmen with a hammer. We see his body fall and later see a pool of blood surrounding his body. A man is pulled from the trunk of a car with duct tape over his mouth, hands and feet. He is slapped twice and attempts to run away, jumping over a railing where he is hit (offscreen) by a train.

Someone enters an apartment with a machete. It is later implied that he killed the inhabitants before threatening the last one with his now-bloodied machete. As he leaves, he wipes the blade clear of his prints and leaves it behind.

Two men are hit by an oncoming bus when their speeding car runs a light. The car flips in slow motion and the airbags deploy. However, both men are unharmed, and one manages to crawl clear of the wreckage.

Several young men known as the “Toddlers” film themselves fighting a group of older men, calling it “fight porn” and posting the video online. One of their victims is later seen with a bruised face and black eye. A man single-handedly roughs up a group of young hoodlums armed with knives before offering to teach them how to fight properly.

Two corpses are seen in freezers. Guns are held to heads, people threaten to kill each other in a variety of ways, and several people are manhandled. Two people fire machine guns into the air as a warning. Someone burns a hand after touching a hot grill. A man riding a bike is hit by a car door when it suddenly opens. Another is held threateningly over the railing of a bridge. A woman compares a man to a fox in a henhouse, saying that there will be blood and feathers everywhere if he is involved in their schemes.

Crude or Profane Language

The f-word is used about 150 times, including multiple plays on the Chinese name “Phuc,” which is pronounced just like the profanity. The s-word is used about 15 times, and both profanities are used repeatedly of times in songs throughout in the movie. The c-word also makes a prominent appearance with 25 verbal uses and two written ones. “P-ss” and “d–k” are said four times each; “c–k” and “b-llocks” are said three times each; “a—” is said twice. We also hear each of the following once: “h—,” “bloody,” “pr–k,” “p—y,” “b–tard” and “spunk.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

This is a movie about the marijuana industry—growing it, selling it (illegally) and using it. We see people roll and smoke marijuana joints. We hear multiple references to dealing the drug. And we hear the many slang names attributed to the drug: weed, skunk, blow, etc.

Additionally, there are multiple references to heroin. Mickey and Ray both compare it to marijuana, saying that it’s worse than marijuana since it can actually kill people. This point becomes more poignant when a young woman dies after heating heroin on a spoon, inserting it into a syringe, and allegedly injecting herself with it. (We don’t actually see that last part on screen, just her dead body in the aftermath.)

A man vomits violently after someone spikes his drink with an unnamed drug. After his assailants finish threatening him—assuring him that the drug will cause him to “s— himself to death” if left unattended—they give him the cure.

We learn that man was given a drug to loosen his inhibitions and cause memory loss so that he could be coerced into interacting sexually with a pig.

People smoke cigars, cigarettes and cloves. A newspaper headline states that a young man is “on crack.” Drugs are mentioned in a list of vices. Several people manufacture heroin in a drug den. They run away when two goons arrive and set the place on fire. Someone says that tea is technically a drug since it contains caffeine.

One man drinks whiskey throughout the movie as he tells a story, and his companion purposely opens a second bottle of the stuff in an attempt to further inebriate him. A man orders and drinks a pint of beer in a pub. People drink wine and champagne at dinners. A man says his colleague is a “gin man” after noting that he has never used heroin and doesn’t use marijuana anymore.

Other Negative Elements

After getting hired to find dirt on Mickey, Fletcher observes and even takes pictures of all the man’s wrongdoings. However, rather than turn this information over to the authorities (or even giving it back to his boss so it can be printed in the newspapers and made public), he tries to blackmail Mickey, asking for 20 million pounds for his “intellectual reconnaissance.” He also tells people who want Mickey dead where to find him and tries to sell a script about Mickey’s life to a film executive.

Teenagers take selfies with a dead body after it falls from a high window. An old man slumps over in his chair and dies of unknown causes. Someone pretends not to see two henchmen moving a dead body.

Mickey is able to hide his marijuana farms by renting the land he needs from members of the gentry who have gone bankrupt. A man justifies his illegal activities by stating he “facilitates” not “participates.” Immigrants are smuggled into the country in a large storage container in exchange for illegal goods. After Mickey and his wife are given an unregistered gun, they talk about how laws are more like “guidelines.”

A man threatens to urinate on his uncle’s grave, and later we see the liquid on his uncle’s corpse. Someone is told to inhale from the exhaust pipe of a hearse. Two men refuse to give their prisoner his inhaler until after he gives them the information they want. A man wants revenge on Mickey after Mickey snubbed him by refusing to shake hands at a gala featuring several prominent members of society.


At its core, The Gentlemen isn’t just a movie about drugs or violence. It’s about power and loyalty. Yes, there are still a lot of drugs, violence and language (which I’ll address in a moment), but if you swapped out the drugs for some other valuable commodity and nixed the violence and language entirely, you’d still have the same story about people willing to do whatever it takes to be the “king of the jungle.”

Now, about that other stuff.

Murder is one of the first things we witness onscreen, and the killings here don’t stop until the credits roll. Even when people aren’t actually pointing guns at one another, they’re still threatening to. And since they’re always talking, they throw in profanities and vulgarities by the bushel, many of which are sexual in nature—implicitly and explicitly.

Clothes stay on throughout the movie, but viewers should be aware of a scene where a woman is almost raped. And did I mention there’s a lot of drug use, with at least one character dying from an overdose?

Suffice it to say there’s very little that’s gentle in The Gentlemen.

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Emily Tsiao

Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.