It’s been a while since a great cast with remarkable resumes has been put together only for the entire film to depict what a train wreck would look like if it took nearly two hours for the crash to take place.
What the audience was left with was a mess that comprised of more backstabbing characters than their fingers could count and a plot that should have been revised a couple more times before it received the “okay” for production.
Right off the bat: this film needs to reevaluate what it means for a production to be classified as a dark comedy. Sure, it was mind-numbingly hilarious that Gringo served as the culmination of, what seemed to be, a film inspired by a script that was hastily written after a mafia movie marathon. But even that’s a struggle to laugh at.
Gringo tells the story of one devastatingly unlucky man named Harold Soyinka (David Oyelono) and how his life takes a drastic turn for the worst as a result of the greed of those around him. Acclaimed actor Joel Edgerton takes to the big screen once again to play Richard Rusk, Harold’s boss and the CEO of Promethium—a company that specialises in mass producing pharmaceutical drugs. After Harold catches wind of Rusk’s alleged plans to finalise a company merger, which would definitely spell unemployment for Harold, he approaches his boss about the matter. But Rusk remains mum about the future of the company and decides to accompany Harold on one of the company’s routine trips to Mexico instead. Upon which Rusk insists that the company’s Mexican branch cease their unspoken contract to illegally supply drugs to the infamous cartel group, The Black Panther.
While Harold is still completely in the dark about Promethium’s drug dealing roots, he’s made some plans of his own: fake his own kidnapping and hold himself for ransom. Unbeknownst to him, Richard has hung him out to dry and The Black Panther have him pegged as their most wanted target. Watch as everybody double crosses everybody and try your very best to differentiate the fake kidnapping from the real kidnapping as even the characters themselves are left without a clue as to what is truly happening.
Aside from Gringo‘s average plot and its over inclusion of double-crossing characters, there’s the one very pressing dilemma of Joel Edgerton’s character—also known as the backstabbing, lying, under-the-table drug dealer that just can’t seem to keep it in his pants.
I’m going to be upfront about this, I have never witnessed Edgerton’s acting prior to this viewing. Even so, I can safely say that his role as Rick the Dick probably wouldn’t rank in the top five best performances by Joel Edgerton. Sure, he played the role of the most insufferable, egotistical prick perfectly, but casting Edgerton was definitely one of the worst decisions made for this film.First of all, it’s unimaginable that an intelligent, no-nonsense and insanely attractive character such as Elaine Markinson (Charlise Theron) would be desperately pining for a disgustingly spineless creature like Richard Rusk. Undoubtedly repulsive personality aside, if Rusk is to be seen as the man that every woman wants, he had better be extremely charismatic and come baring the face synonymous to something of an irresistible Greek god.
Unfortunately, Edgerton’s demeanor was neither charismatic nor attractive in any shape or form. And yet his character was miraculously able to make Bonnie (Thandie Newton) walk out on her marriage with Harold—via Skype might I add! Not to mention, Rusk leaves Elaine as a crying-alone-in-her-car mess as she vouches to win the scumbag’s love; after she discovers that he’s too busy sleeping with another woman to book her in for a night.Overall, it’s insanely difficult to cultivate any sort of sympathy towards Harold because he’s so detrimentally gullible and simple-minded to the point of stupidity. How do you not see that your wife is a gold-digging whore when she provides nothing but is clearly the reason behind your bankruptcy? How do you remain faithful to a nothing-but-sleazy and unfathomable excuse for a boss, when he compares you to a gorilla and then proceeds to tell you to “eat your fucking carrots”? And how, for the love of god, do you not put two and two together when both your wife and your boss break bad news to you using the same fucking gorilla analogy?
This film ultimately serves as an overachiever that has nothing to show for it.
But if there’s any sort of lesson you can take away from this film, it’s that you should never settle for less. Especially if these people, who are discouraging you from thinking that you deserve any better, do so by attacking your self-esteem.
And that you should pick a better movie next time.