Plot: Harold (David Oyelowo) has been a dedicated worker, making frequent trips to Mexico for his bosses and doing what he was told, with the promise of a promotion once his time arrived. But he has started to feel like his time might never come, especially with rumors of a shakeup at work and his bosses aren’t exactly the most trustworthy people he can think of. Richard (Joel Edgerton) insists that things that are fine and Harold needs to just relax, while Elaine (Charlize Theron) refuses to even speak to him most of the time and when she does, it isn’t a positive experience. On his latest trip to Mexico, the two bosses join him on the visit to a pharma plant and it becomes clear some shady things have gone down and with a potential merger ahead, Richard and Elaine need to clean up any loose ends. Harold soon learns the hard way that he has no future with them after the merger, so he concocts a fake kidnapping in order to extort a golden parachute for himself. But will his plan work or will things simply spiral even further out of control?
Entertainment Value: Gringo isn’t a good movie in the usual sense, but it is a fun, often nasty thriller with a biting, dark sense of humor. The narrative is fine, but is predictable and rather basic in most instances, though I did appreciate some of the random, dead end threads that kept things a little unpredictable at times. This one is driven more by characters than narrative, at least in terms of entertainment, so don’t expect a rich or inventive plot line here. But being character oriented isn’t a bad thing, as there’s a nice assortment of colorful players here and most of the cast embraces the chance to go over the top in their performances. David Oyelowo is fun in the lead as a hapless, clueless worker bee who realizes his life is a joke and decides to take action, but he is outshined by his costars here. Charlize Theron shines as a brutal, vindictive executive and Joel Edgerton is a lot of fun as a total douchebag, while the interactions between the two of them provide some of the movie’s brightest spots. Amanda Seyfried is quite good as the closest thing we have to a good person in the movie and Sharlto Copley is fun as well, as a conflicted gun for hire. A strange mix of dark and silly, Gringo is ridiculous and over the top, but offers some solid fun.
No nakedness. A little sexual content here and there, but no actual naked flesh or real sleaze is ever shown in this one. A little bit of blood, but it is minor and non graphic, just a quick burst of crimson from a gunshot wound. Otherwise, just some mild violence in a few scenes, but it is often played for humorous reasons, such as when one character is hit by a car after a discussion about the existence of a higher power. So a little tension perhaps in those sequences, but bloodshed is minimal. The dialogue is dark, sharp, and often quite hilarious, thanks more to the quirky nature of the characters and the cast than the script, but even so, fun stuff. Theron shines in her role and really pulls all the attitude and nastiness of her lines to the surface and Edgerton does the same, but Theron is so much more aggressive about it. Oyelowo has some bright spots, but most of his best moments are when he panics or goes off the deep end, though Harold’s naive persona leads to some fun as well. So some fun characters and some dark, but humorous lines throughout Gringo. As for craziness, the movie tries to push things to extremes, but aside from the dark humor and over the top characters, it never feels that outlandish or outside the lines.
Overall Insanity: 2/10