The Gentlemen | 2019
A fun return to Guy Ritchie’s comfort zone, laddish gangsters, convoluted plotting, snappy dialogue and borrowings from / homages to previous films.
There's far, far too much plot for me to navigate here so I'll assume you've watched the film and we'll breeze through the locations – mainly in London but with a couple of forays out to southeast England.
First off, the pub which serves as HQ and office to self-styled "king of the jungle" Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), which is the Princess Victoria, 217 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, a West London, neighbourhood familiar from 1979’s Quadrophenia.
Built in 1829, the Princess Victoria is one of the original gin palaces, and if you want to luxuriate in the whole experience, it offers five luxurious bedrooms on the top floor. Pickled eggs extra.
Ray's (Charlie Hunnam) house, where Fletcher (Hugh Grant) spins his shaggy dog story-cum-movie script while attempting to extort £20 million, is Stoke Court, a historic manor house with links to poet Thomas Gray (Elegy in a Country Churchyard), Stoke Court Drive, Stoke Poges, Slough in Berkshire.
It was an 18th century cottage, built on the site of a much older house, extended and remodelled in the 19th century. The views over Windsor and Eton from its upper floors supposedly inspired Gray’s poem Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College.
After being severely damaged by fire in January 1979, the building was restored and became UK Conference Centre of the Bayer Group pharmaceutical company, until 2013.
Since then, it’s been vacant and used as a frequent TV location – it was the setting for 2010 BBC series Vexed, 2017 TV movie Murder on the Blackpool Express, and inevitably Midsomer Murders (The Miniature Murders). It even supplied the interior for the "Berlin" ‘Hot Medica’ facility in Killing Eve. Currently there are plans to turn it into residential development. No word if they’ll be including Ray’s knee-warming hi-tech barbecue.
The upper crust party where Mickey ignites a personal feud when he snubs Daily Print editor Big Dave (Eddie Marsan) is being held in the Great Hall at Loseley Park, near Guildford in Surrey, which we’ll be seeing more of later.
The office of the Daily Print newspaper, where Big Dave plans an excoriating exposé of Mickey is the East Room in the Natalie Bell Building, a meeting / party space at Tate Modern. It's the perfect place if you want to impress guests with that stunning panoramic view of the London skyline with St Paul's Cathedral across the Thames.
Adding to the mix is Dry Eye (Henry Golding), the ruthless up-and-coming leader of a Chinese gang, introduced as he’s inspecting the arrival of containers, and trafficked humans, at Tilbury Docks in Essex.
Mickey makes a comfortable living from well-disguised dope farms on the estates of property-rich but cash-strapped gentry. The one of belonging to Lord Duncan isn't specifically identified, but the exterior of the stately pile and the comfy blue sitting room seen during Mickey's voiceover are Wrotham Park, near Barnet in Hertfordshire.
The studios are built on the estate of a 150-year old manor house (which you may recognise as 'Nonnatus House' from BBC TV's Call The Midwife). From 1942 to 2005 the site was used by Military Vehicles and Engineering Establishment for the production and testing of tanks.
Coach (Colin Farrell) is introduced teaching a much-needed lesson to a bunch of lads ("The Toddlers") in Euro Cafe, 299 Caledonian Road, Islington, N1. If you’re popping in for brekkie or lunch, remember it’s currently cash only. No plastic.
Coach’s boxing gym, where ‘The Toddlers’ train, and where ridiculous amounts of dope are being stashed, is a return to an old favourite for Ritchie. Did you recognise it as the site of the 3-card-brag game in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels? It’s where the boxing-mad Kray twins worked out in real life: Repton Boys Club, 116 Cheshire Street, Bethnal Green, in the East End, E2.
Over in the West End, the Uber-glitzy nightclub / restaurant where Mickey meets up with potential buyer Matthew (Jeremy Strong) is Annabel's, 46 Berkeley Square, Mayfair. It’s a long standing hangout for aristocracy and what used to be called the ‘jet-set’, which opened in 1963 next door in the basement of the Clermont Club at 44 Berkeley Square. It moved to the current premises in 2007.
They enter through the inordinately kitsch pink’n’gold Rose Room to the equally eye-watering Elephant Room, which is where Matthew presents Mickey with that tiny gun, or possibly a paperweight.
Another estate, this time belonging to Lord Henry, where Mickey is reluctantly obliged to shut down one his facilities, is Loseley Park, site of the fateful party we mentioned earlier.
Loseley is a large Tudor manor house about three miles south-west of Guildford, Surrey, and it's Grade I-listed, the highest possible ranking for preservation. It’s been seen in plenty of TV productions, including the inevitable faves – Marple, Midsomer Murders and The Crown.
This time it’s the house's Drawing Room we see, with that monumental fireplace designed by Hans Holbein and carved from a single block of chalk, a ceiling commissioned for a visit by King James I, and cushions reputed to have been worked by Queen Elizabeth I.
The spread of Lord Pressfield (Samuel West), who's bemoaning his rebellious daughter's dalliance with a druggy pop star, is Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading, Berkshire, a National Trust property and open to visitors.
It was previously seen in The Duchess, the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice (as ‘Netherfields’), in the 2009 film of Dorian Gray, and even in Sofia Coppola’s quirky Marie Antoinette, with Kirsten Dunst.
Mickey meets with Pressfield in the house’s impressive red-walled Library. If you're inspired to copy the look for your living room, that unique colour was apparently achieved by painting red on top of a chrome yellow, and then using a glaze on top made from stout.
The “South London” high-rise, where Mickey's guys sort out the problem – while creating a bigger one by accidentally dropping the son of a powerful Russian oligarch from a window – is Lancresse Court, De Beauvoir Town, N1 – one of the five tower blocks of the late-Sixties De Beauvoir Estate – a North East London estate.
The name is pronounced as either “de Bovoir” or “de Beaver” – hence the nickname 'Beavertown' and, yes, it's where the Beavertown Brewery started out. The estate is also featured in 28 Weeks Later.
Ray chases the kids, with their phones, through the estate to a confrontation in the parking garage to the west on Balmes Road.
Coach makes amends for the out-of-control lads by delivering to Ray the guy who knew the location of Mickey's 'farm'. Phuk is stashed in the boot of Coach’s car, seemingly close to the Princess Victoria pub. This is in reality the side of a different pub – on Poplar Place, alongside The King's Head on Moscow Road, Bayswater, way over in West London, W2.
The King's Head was used because of that drop from Poplar Place down to the Circle and District lines behind Bayswater Station. A false wall was built just in front of the real one, so that Phuk appears to plummet onto the tracks.
The floating Chinese restaurant run by Lord George, head of the Chinese gang, is Feng Shang Princess berthed in Southern Star Cumberland Basin, on the Regent's Canal at Prince Albert Road, London NW1. On the outside, at least. The restaurant's interior is much lest extravagant in real life.
Dry Eye meets with Matthew for a supposedly confidential talk in the safety of the posh stands at Emirates Stadium, the new(ish) home of Arsenal Football Club, 75 Drayton Park, Highbury in North London.
Time's up for Lord George. His funeral is held in another fave London location, Brompton Cemetery, Earl's Court, West London. Remember Lord Blackwood apparently rising from his crypt here in Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr? Another screen favourite, look out for its gloriously decayed Victorian extravagance in GoldenEye, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises and Stormbreaker.
After a failed hit job in the Princess Victoria, Mickey and Ray race back to check on Rosalind at the garage when they’re hit by a truck and flipped over on Warple Way, Acton, W3. Unhurt, Mickey legs it away along Bradford Road and miraculously arrives at the garage over in Longcross Studios.
Mickey has a serious confrontation with Matthew at the “new” Billingsgate Fish Market, on Trafalgar Way, near Canary Wharf, where the frozen body of Dry Eye demonstrates that he's deadly serious. The market is called “new” because the old fishmarket moved from its historic premises in the City of London to this purpose-built complex in 1982.
The office of 'Miramax Studios', where Fletcher tries finally to pitch the script he's been working on, is one of the four “pavilion” residential blocks of NEO Bankside, corner of Holland Street and Castle Yard, London SE1 – just alongside Tate Modern.
And one last bit of trivia: Free Me, sung by Paul Jones at the end is taken from the soundtrack of the little seen 1967 film Privilege, directed by Peter Watkins, responsible for 1966’s faux-documentary The War Game, commissioned by and immediately banned by, the BBC.