Will Plunkett (Robert Carlyle) and Captain James Macleane (Jonny Lee Miller), two men from different ends of the social spectrum in eighteenth century England, enter a gentlemen's agreement: They decide to rid the aristocrats of their belongings. With Plunkett's criminal know-how and Macleane's social connections, they team up to be soon known as "The Gentlemen Highwaymen". But when one day these gentlemen hold up Lord Chief Justice Gibson's (Sir Michael Gambon's) coach, Macleane instantly falls in love with his beautiful and cunning niece, Lady Rebecca Gibson (Liv Tyler). Unfortunately, Thief Taker General Chance (Ken Stott), who also is quite fond of Rebecca, is getting closer and closer to getting both: The Gentlemen Highwaymen and Rebecca, who, needless to say, don't want to get any closer to him. But Plunkett still has a thing to sort out with Chance, and his impulsiveness gets all of them in a little trouble.Written by
Julian Reischl <email@example.com>
Anachronisms abound in this heavily-fictionalized account of two real-life villains of the mid eighteenth century. Will Plunkett appears to have invented a cure for syphilis well over a hundred years before such a discovery was made, and also to be using a repeating rifle during the climax. See more »
Lady Rebecca accuses Mr. Chance of having Halitosis. The term Halitosis originated in the 1870's, well over a hundred years after the time period the movie is set in. See more »
Captain James Macleane, for drunkenness, unruly behavior, causing an affray and disturbing the King's, I hereby sentence you to be placed in the Knightsbridge debtors' jail and to be held there until you are sober. Take him away.
See more »
The person in charge of overseeing the duel between Chance and Plunkett is listed as the "Dual Referee". See more »
England in the 1700's, (1745 to be exact) was not a nice place. The rich were all made up to the eyeballs with ludicrous hair and cuffs you could hide a poodle in. They did, however smell a little better than the poor, who were lucky if they made it through the day without a vital appendage falling off in the street.
It is to this world that the audience watching Plunkett and Macleane are introduced. It's not pretty, but it's very believable and prepares you to accept the lengths to which people will go to clamber from the muck to a better life.
Thrown together through circumstance, Macleane, a semi-respectable gentleman who spends too much on women and gambling and Plunkett, a common criminal with more than a few tricks up his sleeve, find that they can rob together successfully as partners. So they do. A lot.
There's a lot of good ideas in the film, primarily the concept of turning the idea of 18th Century English nobility on its head and making it seem little more than an excuse to wear wigs and lipstick. A refreshing change in these days of Merchant Ivory productions and hey-nonny snooze.
Then there's the obligatory love interest, Lady Rebecca (Liv Tyler) and the vicious baddie, in the form of the Thief Taker General Chance, played with sadistic relish by Ken Stott. Both perform well, but it's up to the two leads, and the chemistry that worked well in Trainspotting to steal the show. Being Highwaymen, they steal it with ease, commanding each scene with humour and grit in equal proportions. Some moments of the film are laugh out loud funny, while others border on the disgusting. Always funny and compelling as an action movie, (the love story is left firmly in second place) Plunkett & Macleane is great fun. Though the efforts of the excellent cast and director Jake Scott, we have another British hit on our hands.
All in all, to blatantly rip off a line from the film:
"It was fantastic and I had a bloody good laugh!"
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