Gringo movie review: This Charlize Theron-starrer could have been a classic-comedy, but ends up being anti-climactic
Gringo could have been a genuine comedy classic, but for now it’s a mild anticlimax.
Nash Edgerton’s Gringo is an almost memorable movie, in that it constantly leads to interesting situations but the payoffs don’t always hit home.
It also feels like a movie from the '90s particularly given the brand of humour it wears like a badge of honor. It’s fairly enjoyable pulp, but one can’t help but be slightly disappointed given the amazing cast involved.
Gringo doesn’t waste time in getting right into the thick of things – the hard working stereotypical everyman Soyinka (David Oyelowo) has been kidnapped by some unknown ruffians while on a business trip to Mexico and the only people who can save him are his shady drug peddling bosses (Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton – the director’s brother and frequent creative partner). The film then flits into flashback mode to explain how the fella landed in this situation, as he tries helplessly and often hilariously to get help and go home, and naturally having every plan of his quashed by a horde of colorful characters who somehow hone in on him.
Gringo would be a worthy recco strictly as a passable comedy to watch on a streaming platform at home with your pals when you have nothing else to do. But it’s up to a matter of taste whether this is worth a trip to the theater.
On one hand a lot of bonkers stuff happens in the movie, as writers Anthony Tambakis and Matthew Stone pile on oddball twists and surprises with the dark overtones of something like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. You also get Theron in a rather hilariously unhinged performance along with the always lovable Sharlto Copley as an ex mercenary who is hired to rescue Soyinka from the mess but ultimately keeps making things worse.
The sum of its individually enjoyable parts unfortunately doesn’t coalesce into a wholly memorable film because of the sheer frivolity of the tone.
There’s quite a sprawling supporting cast in Gringo which is given embarrassingly low amount of development, and the actors’ presence only serves as cameos that you’re supposed to swoon at, as opposed to fun characters you’d follow in the story. Ideally Gringo should have focused on Soyinka and his antics instead of the ‘wacky weirdos’ that surround him and are present in the film only to serve the wackiness. This particularly becomes necessary in the second act when the film slows down to excruciating levels, and the filmmakers losing track of what made us interested in the film in the first place.
This is rather odd considering the director Edgerton previously made the brilliant Aussie neo noir The Square which is a classic character based chamber piece.
The insane finale sort of makes up for the sluggishness in between, and it’s hard to ultimately walk away disliking the film. With a few more drafts of work on the script, and maybe choosing to turn this into a buddy cop style film with just Oyelowo and Copely on the run, Gringo could have been a genuine comedy classic, but for now it’s a mild anticlimax.
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