Produced by Amazon Studios (you know, that online retailer that has decided to turn its hand to filmmaking), Gringo is a crime-comedy directed by Nash Edgerton (in his directorial debut). It stars David Oyelowo (who is by far the best part about the film) alongside Joel Edgerton, Charlize Theron and Amanda Seyfried.
Gringo tells the tale of Harold Soyinka, a business man who accidentally learns he will lose his job, so he pretends to kidnap himself and plans to hold the company at ransom. It also tells the story of a man whose wife is cheating on him with his best friend. It also tells the story of two businessmen who plan on buying out that company and expanding it, while also laying loads of people off. It also tells the story of two current bosses at that company who have been making dodgy dealings with the Mexican drug cartel. It also tells the story of an FBI agent who’s trying to bring down the cartel. It also tells the story of a man planning on killing Harold and keeping the money for himself. It also tells the story of a guy trying to smuggle out drugs from Mexico without his girlfriend realising.
Have you spotted the major issue with the film?
Gringo tries so desperately to tie loads of stories together, but miserably fails on most accounts to do so. For any of the stories to make sense, they need to play out fully, and this then means all momentum of the film is totally lost. The editing is weak, the cinematography is nothing groundbreaking, and the direction is questionable.
So, the most surprising thing about Gringo? I actually found myself enjoying it. The narrative is a total mess, and the comedy really isn’t that sharp, and yet something about it was endearing enough for me to just go along with it. I’m not for a moment saying it’s a good film (it’s not) but there was enough in the performances and story for me to stay interested and engaged for the runtime, until by the end I was actually rooting for the characters.
It won’t break the box office, and its certainly not any of the stars finest performance. But as a lighthearted action comedy that wouldn’t look out of place as a Netflix original, it was fine.