The Merry Gentleman

Critics Consensus

Michael Keaton's directorial debut, The Merry Gentleman, is a slow character study aided greatly by the performances of Keaton and Kelly MacDonald.



Total Count: 76


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,671
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Movie Info

Michael Keaton makes his directorial debut in this low-key story of two unlikely kindred spirits. Kate Frazier (Kelly Macdonald) is a sweet woman who has left behind an abusive husband to start her life over in Chicago. Kate lands a job as a receptionist, but one afternoon after leaving work for the day she sees a man with a rifle on the ledge of a nearby building. The man is about to jump, and Kate screams; the noise startles the man, and he falls backward to safety. As it happens, the man with the gun was Frank Logan (Michael Keaton), a hired killer who has a lingering illness and has fallen into a suicidal depression. Kate is questioned by the police about Frank, and police detective Dave Murcheson (Tom Bastounes) quickly becomes infatuated with her after their brief conversation. But Frank seeks out Kate, and they discover they have more in common than they might imagine as two lonely people dealing with a troublesome past. The Merry Gentleman received its world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.


Michael Keaton
as Frank Logan
Kelly Macdonald
as Kate Frazier
Tom Bastounes
as Dave Murcheson
Guy Van Swearingen
as Billy Goldman
William Dick
as Mr. Weiss
Kareem Bandealy
as Guy at Tavern (Victim #1)
Rich Wilkie
as Executive
Lori Ann Gerdisch
as Female Co-Worker
Mike Falevits
as Guy at Party #1
Alkesh Patel
as Guy at Party #2
Manny Sosa
as Cab Driver
Norman K. Smith
as Subway Singer
Joseph Ellison
as Subway Singer
Ronald Christian
as Subway Singer
Doug McDade
as Sleeping Man
LaShawn Banks
as Other Salesman
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News & Interviews for The Merry Gentleman

Critic Reviews for The Merry Gentleman

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (27)

  • A flawed but decidedly promising first movie.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The film never quite convinces as anything other than a puff-piece for Keaton, but it is bolstered by another deeply empathetic turn from Macdonald.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • [Michael Keaton is] the pained and taciturn star of a pained and taciturn drama.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Xan Brooks

    Top Critic
  • Keaton the director wisely draws a leaf from Clint Eastwood's book. Keeping the framing neat, his style is the kind of unobtrusive classical filmmaking that is a dying breed in contemporary Hollywood.

    Dec 4, 2009
  • We are never quite sure whether this is a thriller or a dark romance, but Keaton conjures up some excellent scenes and allows Macdonald the chance to shine.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/5
  • Keaton builds the tension nicely. Payoffs aren't as important to him as establishing a mood, a tone (mostly bleak). Patient, at times to a fault, he allows the characters to build over time.

    Jul 16, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Merry Gentleman

  • Oct 22, 2011
    Frank Logan: You find presents under a tree. I found a girl.  Kate Frazier: You must have been a very good boy.  "A man with a secret. A woman with a past." Despite its flaws, I really liked The Merry Gentleman because of its uniqueness and because it was one of the oddest emotional movies I have seen in awhile. It was oddly emotional because the characters don't show too much emotion, but Michael Keaton's direction dictates the emotional feeling of the film. Everything about the movie had a feeling of dreariness.there really was no cheerfulness to be had and I think that's what made the relationship between Kate and Frank all the more emotional. The movie revolves around two people. A sweet young woman Kate, and a killer, Frank. Kate sees Frank on top of a roof after killing someone but doesn't see his face. She is questioned by police about the incident, but she can't really give the anything because he was to far away. Then the two actually meet and begin to become friends. There's no real plot to begin with, but the movie does do some great things with the characters. I love the way Keaton played with the viewer about Kate's past and her black eye. She would always give a different answer, but everyone really knows what it is. I liked Keaton as an actor and as a director with this film, but what really sold me on it was Kelly MacDonald. I loved her performance. She was so subtle with all the large emotions that were going on in her characters life and made the movie all the more effective. The relationship between her character and Keaton's was oddly believable. Now that I really think about the movie, everything was odd. It isn't like a normal crime drama, because it isn't really about the crime. It is easy to see why this movie is hard to like. It is slow, it is bleak the actors show no emotions, and the ending doesn't really feel like an ending. But Keaton didn't set out to make a movie that would be easy to like. He did a great job with a movie that is character driven, with two less than exciting characters. I don't know how he did it, but he did.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 05, 2011
    Reminiscent of the superior Last Lullaby, Merry Gentleman is beautifully shot, with Keaton giving a very nuanced performance. Its' biggest drawback, however, is a significant one; the pace is best described as glacially slow.
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2010
    Slow but decent, with a surprisingly satisfying non-resolution.
    Ed K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 23, 2010
    Micheal Keaton's The Merry Gentleman, was a movie for Lifetime Television. Kelly McDonald's role was a silly one, and her character did not do any good to get the audience to like her. Michael Keaton played a professional hit-man, though we never knew for who, or why,or even anything about his targets. All we know was that he appeared to be sad about what he was doing. There was never enough of anyone's life to really dig into and the look and tone of the movie was just messy.The result was, it turned into a mixture of different styles that belong in different movies.It looked like the movie did not know what it wanted to be, a drama, sometimes a comedy,or a thriller?
    Daisy M Super Reviewer

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