Gringo is a very strange creature. On the surface, it appears as a comedy for the stoner; a picture filled with over used and half baked comedic classics. But the way it eventually plays out is intrinsically well made, surprisingly interesting, and vastly more enjoyable than a run of the mill comedy would be.
Harold (David Oyelowo) is a man perched on edge of a cliff, metaphorically, but he certainly doesn’t know it. With a perfect wife, and a great boss, his life has been on a daily up-slide since he left Nigeria as a young boy. Except, his world is about to fall apart, and with a trip to Mexico the cause, Harold is about to become trapped in an endless spiral of awful events and dangerous situations in an unpredictable foreign country.
Gringo is elevated massively by its brilliant cast. Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron don’t often try their hand at money-hungry comedies, and that gives it a huge edge. These are quality actors, adding real depth to a film essentially about weed. Without them, Gringo would fall apart, with its story line that often leads to the ridiculous and the silly. The cast, usually the same three, bring the film back to reality with their larger than life, yet grounded performances. They do enough to stop the film feeling over the top and pointless.
The way Gringo manages to incorporate business satire with the mockery of Mexican stereotyping is very clever, and by being so punchy and often ironic there is a sharp edge that comes at unexpected times. The film isn’t necessarily full of twists or shocking moments, but its small surprises work hard to keep the film fresh and appealing.
For a debut directorial picture from Nash Edgerton, Gringo is a passionate effort. It holds its own against similar creations with enough originality to keep it individual, however, it won’t stay particularly long in the memory, and will have no impact on the wider community. But as a 2 hour getaway, all a film often needs to be, it does its job wonderfully.