Gringo was directed by Nash Edgerton and stars his real-life brother Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron as CEO’s of a pharmaceutical company that is on the verge of bankruptcy. That is until they get the opportunity to release a new form of “medical marijuana” of sorts in a pill form. The only catch is that they need to make a side deal with one of the biggest drug cartels in Mexico. To make sure the deal goes through smoothly Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton) and Elaine Markinson (Charlize Theron) send Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) to see that everything goes accordingly. Once Harold is there, he quickly realizes that he and the company he works for are in way over their heads. This is probably not going to end well for anyone.
Gringo made a brief run in theaters and now has graced us with its presence on Amazon Prime. This was a film that looked interesting from the previews but it doesn’t take long to realize this is a busy film that does nothing very well. Only a few scenes with Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton playing comically horrendous people does Gringo shine and those scenes are few and far between. This is billed as a “dark comedy with white knuckled action and intrigue”. The problem is that that action is routine as is the “intrigue” and neither of which is interesting. Furthermore, Gringo tries very hard to be a dark satirical comedy which is not dark or satirical enough and at the end of the day, is not all that funny, either.
There are several subplots going on in Gringo and none of them seem to be all that interesting despite having a cast that in addition to the people mentioned above includes Thandie Newton, Amanda Seyfried and Sharlto Copley all of whom are wasted in a tired plot, pieced together with recycled elements from other films a lot better than this one. David Oyelowo is an excellent actor but here is relegated to whimpering and screeching and yet, we are supposed to be surprised when his wife (Thandie Newton) loses interest. Only when he gets his back up against a wall and must fight does his character become engaging. But Newton, Seyfried and Copely are all excellent actors who are given nothing interesting to do and are largely wasted. Anyone could have played these same characters which points to a very weak script. If there was a way the filmmakers could have stayed with the characters of Richard and Elaine, they might have had something original and truly humorous.
Gringo was penned by Anthony Tambakis and Matthew Stone and they have an eye and ear for human nature but not once did I believe this story. The film is monotonous and all too familiar. and The dialogue is pointless and never really grasps the main sympathetic character of Harold. I simply didn’t care what happened to him despite a good performance from Mr. Oyelowo. It is simply generic story-telling from start to finish and Nash Edgerton’s direction sputters along and goes virtually nowhere. Only the decadent lasciviousness of the characters of Richard and Elaine and Christophe Beck’s intriguing score breath some much needed life into this dying film. Somewhere there is a good film with this material, Gringo, however is not it. I had wanted to see this film when it came to our local theaters but was overruled by a friend of mine. I am glad I was.
Gringo – *1/2 out of 5
Gringo – Rated R for language, nudity, brief violence, some gore and adult situations
Gringo – Run time is 111 minutes
Gringo is now available on DVD, On Demand and subscription services including Amazon Prime. Check your listings for pricing and availability.