Rob Reviews "Gringo"
When I say “stuntman turned director,” don’t clock out on me here. Remember, the same thing is true of both “John Wick” films. So, stuntman turned director Nash Edgerton gets his first feature film chance with “Gringo,” and man, this is what the kids like to call a doozie.
David Oyelowo plays Harold Soyinka, a guy working in middle management for a pharmaceutical corporation who handles their cohorts in Mexico. He has an average life, in an average house, with an average dog, and an average wife (Thandie Newton). When some inventory goes missing, his bosses accompany him on a trip: Richard Rusk (Nash’s brother Joel Edgerton) and Elaine Markinson (Charlize Theron). What starts out as a bit of cloak-and-dagger work amongst them turns into an international incident involving both sides of the law on both sides of the border. All this is added to the exploits of Miles (Harry Treadaway) and his girlfriend, Sunny (Amanda Seyfried), who are also in Mexico for what one knows and the other doesn’t.
This film was a pleasant surprise for me. There was a lot of buzz around it as I headed into my screening, so my hopes were up, but I was cautiously optimistic. With the perfect combination of drama, action, and comedy, this reminds me a lot of the cool-calm-and-carefree days of early Tarantino without trying to be early Tarantino. There are multiple storylines that do tend to way it down in the second act and the Treadaway/Seyfried subplot could have been removed with no real difference to my enjoyment of the film (other than the cinematic debut of Princess of Pop Paris Jackson), but this film finishes strong.
Oyelowo carries the script masterfully, and his comedic chops are on full display here. He, Edgerton, and Theron work VERY well together, and watching their interactions with each other as they transition with the way their characters treat one another was great. Newton has a small but pivotal role to the story, as do Alan Ruck (Cameron Frye himself) and Kenneth Choi. However, the actor that almost steals this film (and tends to when he is in just about anything) is Sharlto Copley, a mercenary hired to bring Harry back, but when the plan changes, his newly found philanthropy is tested.
“Gringo” is one of those films that may escape a lot of people as we start to gear up for the Summer Movie Season. Personally, I hope that this film gets the love it deserves from a larger audience, so do your part to get the word out on this gem of a film!