Let’s get right to talking about Nash Edgerton’s “Gringo,”: when playing by the rules gets the deeply in debt Harold Soyinka, played by David Oyelowo (Selma), he hatches a plan to extort five million dollars from his soon to be sold company. Once his master plan goes into motion, the fallout is woefully unprepared for him to handle.
Aside from Harold, every speaking character in the movie seems to have some level of psychotic or sociopathic tendencies. Interestingly, these tendencies weave an incredible web for this film to play out as Joel Edgerton (Warrior) gives his most dynamic performance since Black Mass as Richard Rusk, who also happens to be having an affair with Harold’s wife and only hired Harold as a patsy to some shady dealings in Mexico. His partner in the shady dealings is played by Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde) so well, that you almost wonder if she is this terrible to people in real life. (For all intents and purposes, there is no evidence showing the actress to be anything other than amazingly talented.)
While the acting of David Oyelowo carries much of this movie as the titular Gringo, it is worth noting that Nash Edgerton (also Joel’s brother), draws out admirable performances from main and supporting cast alike. Sharlto Copley deserves a ton of credit for perfectly towing the line between sympathetic aid worker and unyielding, professional mercenary. His performance shifts the comedy to a darker shade when the suspense of what his character will do to Harold becomes a major subplot as well. Two others deserving note in their American film debuts are Paris Jackson and Carlos Corona who despite limited appearances, were both highly memorable. Jackson takes an unnecessary part and crushed her scene while Carlos Corona deftly balanced “The Black Panther” (not that one) between goofy Beatles fan and terrifying cartel jefe.
While the players on the screen would constitute the best of the movie, the story itself doesn’t fall far behind. At its core, Gringo is a comedy; however the opening plays more like a drama as sections of the body are suspenseful with the later scenes showcasing its action as the flow and humor of the picture never waivers too far. Despite the skillful blending of themes, the action kicks into gear without any warning that will surprise any audience with a pulse.
Now to my mini-rant: can we please stop ending movies with a major character looking directly into the camera and mugging? On the bright side, is this is one very few issues I take with the picture as others will speak of unnecessary characters and plot points that seem to have no purpose beyond meeting a quota of one British accent per film. I have very minimal complaints, but no movie is perfect.
Gringo will not be winning awards or setting box office records, but it will be on a lot of best comedy lists for 2018. See what happens when a good man is stuck between dishonest bosses, a drug cartel, the DEA, a mercenary, and kidnappers or learn what that guy meant when he tells you to “Eat Your (REDACTED) Carrots.” Anyway you watch it, support good comedy and see this film.