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The Gentlemen: Netflix Series Review

Two men walk toward the camera with a helicopter leaving in the background in the 2024 Netflix series The Gentlemen

With the perfect balance of humour and tension, Guy Ritchie’s Netflix series The Gentlemen shows audiences a gangster drug-dealing side of the British aristocracy.

In Netflix’s newest show, The Gentlemen, Saltburn meets Narcos with a drug-dealing business that takes place on the backdrop of the fancy castles of the English aristocracy, where there is more to these characters than what meets the eye. The show introduces its viewers to the world of the British aristocracy, which many of us may not be familiar with, and simultaneously to that of drug dealing, all of this while not being afraid to critique these two words it is set in and show their darkest side too.  

The Gentlemen centres on Eddie Halstead (Theo James), an aristocratic soldier who has always believed to be the spare in his family. But when his father dies and the will is read, he finds himself inheriting the large family estate where he will now live with his brother Freddy (Daniel Ings), sister Charly (Jasmine Blackborow), and mother Lady Sabrina (Joely Richardson). He will soon find out, however, that when it comes to his father’s business affairs, there is a lot he doesn’t know yet, as he is introduced to Susie Glass (Kaya Scodelario) and her weed-growing empire. As the new heir, Eddie also finds himself having to deal with the family’s problems, particularly his brother’s, on top of a business he is not sure he wants to be a part of.

The humour is one of the best and most successful elements of The Gentlemen. In these shows that focus on action and continuous drama, humour is often either left behind or feels forced when it is not necessary. But in this show, the comedy feels organic to the characters and the plot, thanks to the chemistry between the characters, particularly the members of the Halstead family. The comedic timing is also excellent, especially from Daniel Ings who is often the comedic relief in most of his scenes, especially as it is often delivered in high-stakes and tense moments.

I also really liked the use of accents in the Netflix show. From the very first episode of The Gentlemen, the audience can hear a lot of different examples of British English: there is the posh version that Eddie speaks, the one people associate the most with British English, and on the other end of the spectrum, the northern sounding accent of the Liverpudlian drug cartel. Not only are the different accents useful to tell the characters are apart and very much true to reality, but they also speak to the characters’ background, informing us of their education, hometown, and social class when they first appear on the screen. 

a man holds a rifle dressed like a chicken in the 2024 Netflix series The Gentlemen
A still from the Netflix series The Gentlemen (Christopher Rafael/Netflix)

The Gentlemen touches on very interesting topics. In particular, I really liked the religious undertones that always come back throughout the entire show as well as the nod to how real-life criminal organisations operate outside the big screen. However, I constantly felt like the show barely scratched the surface when it came to these topics and never truly explored them properly. The same could be said of the supporting cast, while Eddie’s mother gets a more important role story in the storyline as the series goes on, I would have liked to see more of his siblings as well whose story arches are barely finished when the show comes to an end.

The second half of The Gentlemen, however, was a lot more disappointing. A lot of the key plot points and revelations feel rushed and, therefore, underwhelming. Many of them would have probably worked better with a different structure. While the plot is okay, its delivery was too quick and abrupt in the last few episodes as the main characters have to face a series of betrayals. The audience cares little to nothing about these as of characters guilty for them are people who have barely had any screen time at all and whose motivations remain unexplained.

It is also interesting how throughout the show, the rich white men pretend to maintain a level of morality, and The Gentlemen allows them to do it. We never see Eddie killing people – this is only ever suggested off camera – and even when he does commit commendable actions, Eddie always seems to make the moral choice regardless. In many ways, the people Eddie kills are somewhat justified because he is getting rid of the bad guys. This is ironic as he is also established as the one who feels no regret, as opposed to his brother who is far less nonchalant about it.

The Gentlemen is a fascinating product thanks to its premise and setting but it could have wrapped up its plot a lot more nicely than with a disappointing last episode that attempts to tie all loose ends and connect all the threads and characters we have seen during this first season. While the idea is not bad, the show doesn’t really have time to properly execute it nor explore all of its characters in their complexities in the eight episodes that make up this season. It is admittedly still a product that fans of the genre will enjoy with its rare, successful balance between tension, humour, and action.

Guy Ritchie’s series The Gentlemen will be released globally on Netflix on March 7, 2024. Read our review of the 2020 film The Gentlemen.

The Gentlemen: Trailer (Netflix)
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