Sold as a dark action-comedy, and boasting a surprisingly A-list cast, Gringo has all the makings of a successful crime drama right from the outset.
The film follows Harold (Oyelowo), a down-on-his-luck middle manager who thinks he’s about to be laid off by arrogant best friend’s (Edgerton) shady pharmaceutical company. Sounds simple enough. But when Harold and his bosses (Edgerton and Theron) take a trip to Mexico to check on their weed factory and iron out some dodgy deals with the Mexican cartel (unbeknownst to the naïve Harold), this is when the story starts to spin slightly out of debut-feature film director Nash Edgerton’s control.
Although everyone’s giving their all, Theron is clearly having the most fun here as the potty-mouthed femme fatale. But despite her enviable coolness, she doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than spitting out vitriolic and almost too well-scripted insults at every opportunity. She may be the most entertaining thing on the screen, but unfortunately her role is completely irrelevant to the overall story.
And that’s the main challenge that Gringo has – whilst the individual elements seem like a good idea, for some reason they just don’t hang together correctly. Despite the strength of the cast, unfortunately no single character or idea is given enough attention to really make an impact. Throw in some Narcos-esque drug lord action, and you’ve got yourself a bit of a mixed bag.
Entertaining enough, with a sufficient number of internal chuckles to be able to overlook any missteps, Gringo’s main downfall is an overcooked script and an A-list cast that puts too much pressure on the film as a whole. That being said, Nash Edgerton still does a great job of successfully navigating various complicated storylines, whilst still keeping the pace moving at a million miles a minute.
CAST: David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton, Charlize Theron, Sharlto Copley, Amanda Seyfried
DIRECTOR: Nash Edgerton
WRITERS: Anthony Tambakis, Matthew Stone
SYNOPSIS: Gringo, a dark comedy mixed with white-knuckle action and dramatic intrigue, explores the battle of survival for businessman Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) when he finds himself crossing the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal.