Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of The Gentlemen Explained

Following the 2008 release of "RocknRolla," director Guy Ritchie took a few years off from exploring the darkly comedic exploits of British gangsters using his signature frenetic energy and wit. But after taking on a variety of different projects like the live-action "Aladdin," Robert Downey Jr.'s "Sherlock Holmes," and "King Arthur," the filmmaker returned to his rougher roots with "The Gentlemen" in 2019. 

"The Gentlemen" centers around Michael "Mickey" Pearson (Matthew McConaughey), a marijuana kingpin in the U.K. who's tired of running the underworld and wants to sell his sprawling business. When potential buyers throw a wrench in the works, his empire begins to crumble.

Much like Ritchie's earlier works such as "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch," "The Gentlemen" follows a wide cast of characters whose stories all interweave before colliding in a typically violent fashion by the end. But because there are plenty of criminals, drug dealers, fighters, and shady businessmen who all get involved with Pearson's business, it's easy to get lost in the finale. Thankfully, with an impressive cast also boasting the likes of Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, and Henry Golding, it's fun to watch all these colorful characters clash together.

So, how does Pearson save his business? Whose fate hangs in the balance at the end of the movie? Is there some all-important sequel bait? Let's take a look at the ending of "The Gentlemen."

Why does Mickey Pearson want to sell his business?

At the film's outset, "The Gentlemen" swiftly introduces us to Mickey Pearson and establishes that he snubbed a powerful tabloid newspaper editor known as Big Dave (Eddie Marsan), who vows to take Pearson down in revenge for making him look like an idiot in front of his friends. Sounds petty, but hey, the film's better for that motivation because it sets slimy investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) on Pearson's tail to dig up some dirt on the cannabis kingpin.

"The Gentlemen" is mainly framed through Fletcher revealing to Raymond "Ray" Smith (Charlie Hunnam) what he's discovered about Pearson's business in an attempt to extort the gangster for £20 million. But the narrative device explains to the audience that although the big boss has created a vast empire, Pearson is bored of living life on the wrong side of the law. (He should've really been nicknamed "Machete Mickey," because he built the business through extreme violence.)

All Pearson wants is to sell his marijuana business — which is kept running underneath stately mansions across the U.K. — before the government realizes it could legalize the drug and earn billions in taxing it. That would allow Pearson to retire with his wife, Rosalind (Michelle Dockery), and start a family of his own, giving them the comfortable upbringing he didn't have before his scholarship plucked him from the U.S. and dropped him at the University of Oxford as a teenager.

Matthew Berger's plot

So, who was Mickey Pearson planning to sell to? Well, that's where the stylish Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong) comes in. The billionaire has his sights set on the lucrative business, initially offering Pearson a cool £400 million for it. However, he's not the friend that he claims to be, as he's sneakily manipulating the situation in an attempt to swindle Pearson out of millions and make even more money for himself. Greed, it's blinding. Berger is secretly working alongside Chinese gangster Dry Eye (Henry Golding) to disrupt Pearon's cannabis production to get a cheaper deal for himself.

Dry Eye's involvement brings Colin Farrell's Coach into the fold — alongside with band of fighters called the Toddlers. The young boxers are all thirsty for a scuffle and hope to make extra cash, which is why they jump at the tip-off from Dry Eye to rob one of Pearson's marijuana facilities. The fighters have a growing YouTube channel, and the footage of the farm that they obtained would obviously expose Pearson's business if uploaded, leaving him vulnerable to the authorities. As Berger later points out, it would mean shutting down his operations for quite some time and moving it elsewhere.

It's a sneaky tactic — and Berger would've gotten away with it, too. Unfortunately, Fletcher's extortion attempt confirmed to Ray Smith that Berger was conspiring with Dry Eye in exchange for putting the gangster at the head of the Chinese gangs working in London. Dry Eye's only became so power-hungry because he feels his uncle, Lord George (Tom Wu), has become subservient to Pearson rather than being an intimidating crime boss. So, although Fletcher is an undeniable scumbag, he's a useful scumbag — and it's so much fun watching Hugh Grant surprise audiences playing a character like that rather than his typical roles as charming Englishmen.

Pearson's revenge

Once Ray Smith and Mickey Pearson have put the pieces together, it makes something very clear to the American: He's not done with his empire, and he's definitely not about to sell it cheap to a backstabbing weasel like Matthew Berger. Pearson masterfully confronts the billionaire about the offer under the pretense of accepting it — acting cool, calm, and collected before flying off the handle and forcing him to pay £270 million back to him in compensation. Oh, and because Dry Eye nearly assaulted Rosalind earlier in the film, Pearson wants a literal pound of flesh from Berger.

By doing this, Pearson is proving that just because he was considering getting out of his business, he isn't weak or easily manipulated. Berger gets locked in a freezer with one of Pearson's goons, and that's the last we see of him. It's presumed that he's either dead or severely injured after his ordeal. Although, what would Pearson do with the pound of flesh that he wanted from him, anyway? That's not exactly something to frame above the fireplace, is it?

Is there room for a sequel to The Gentlemen?

In an 11th-hour twist, Fletcher reveals that he also sold all the information he'd collected on Mickey Pearson to a Russian oligarch after one of Ray Smith's goons pushed his son Aslan (Danny Griffin) off a balcony. It's a last-minute attempt at throwing in some danger and tying up loose ends, but it actually leaves some things open — to possibly be addressed in a sequel. The Toddlers pay their debts by saving Pearson with a hail of bullets, killing his would-be attackers. However, that doesn't exactly solve the problem, does it? Sure, those two Russian gangsters are dead and Pearson seems to have a happy ending with Rosalind at home, but Aslan's father is still out there, presumably, and he's probably even angrier that Pearson has escaped.

As for Hugh Grant's seedy investigator, he's last seen with Fletcher, who locks him in a taxi and presumably wants some payback for all his backstabbing, extortion, and general scummy behavior. Fair enough. His fate, like Berger's, is left ambiguous.

There's definitely room for a follow-up, but "The Gentlemen" doesn't seem like the type of movie that particularly needs a sequel. We'd be lying if we said a return to this world wouldn't be interesting, though, so who knows? Maybe a sequel to "The Gentlemen" would also involve the characters from "RocknRolla," since Guy Ritchie originally promised to make a sequel to the 2008 gangster flick too (via Slashfilm). It would be one hell of a combined cast: Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy, Idris Elba, Mark Strong, Toby Kebell, Charlie Hunnam, Matthew McConaughey, and Hugh Grant...

Yes, please.