HomeUncategorized“The Gentlemen”: Right-wing melodrama

“The Gentlemen”: Right-wing melodrama

The thinly veiled plot of the revenge-fantasy crime-melodrama film “The Gentlemen”(no joke):A salt-of-the-Earth American (played by Mathew McConaughey of course) crowns himself king of the empire he builds, funded by drug money, with the help of the British aristocracy, within the corpse of their own decaying kingdom. After a time he decides to retire and courts the services of a Jewish billionaire who wants to take over his kingdom for him. The Jewish billionaire, with the help of his Israeli Mossad agents, coordinates with the Chinese to drive down the price of the American’s empire through sabotage and the exposure this brings his empire to the exploitation of sexually deviant journalists who want to profit from the story. But the American, with the help of his gangster allies, narrowly escapes getting wiped out by the Russians, defeats the Chinese infiltrators, and extracts a pound of flesh from the Jewish billionaire in revenge. He realizes he cannot sell his kingdom; he cannot retire. It is his duty as king to rule the land. The End.

So basically racialized conspiracy theory transposed into a melodramatic allegory that, despite its simplistic didactic structure, is not without its truth (The U.S. did become an empire through the rise of the drug-money funded National Security State). But there is no scapegoat in this movie exactly. It shares a certain Nietzschean flavor that other films like “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” have which emphasize the masculine hero overcoming his weakness, not his enemies, which are other weak men who are only doing what weak men do. The antagonists are not to blame, just to be put in their place. The racial stereotypes used are addressed in a revealing attempt at comedy where a black character objects to being called a “black cunt”. He is told by one of the tough male characters that he is a cunt, but that it has nothing to do with him being black, nor does it imply that all black men are cunts. The dialog reflects the frequent complaint raised at political correctness, that insulting jokes are often not meant as prejudiced remarks, but simply part of the culture of male bonding that thrives on challenges to rise above weakness or stereotypes. Whatever one thinks of this, it is clear that as Hollywood becomes less able to create compelling narratives that speak to the concerns of a decaying American culture and empire, we will see more narratives like this.

I think the conservative mind is trying to reformulate its own way around the mistakes of 20th century fascism. The alt-right is thankfully a spent force, and the dissident right seems more and more opposed to the racialism of the Left rather than trying to articulate their own white-identity politics, even if that will long be a preoccupation of a few marginal people.