Gringo plot’s built around a core group of characters each with story arcs that ultimately intersect to tell the tale one character.
Meet Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo). Harold is living his best middle-management life. Which, of course, means he has a pretty wife, pretty home, and overdrawn bank account. Harold is a timid man living an unexciting life. He’s honest, trustworthy, reliable and horribly naive.
Harrold’s life is about to get complicated. And that’s before everything comes crashing down around his ears. Because Harold works for a pair of grimy, underhanded, overentitled corporate a-holes.
His bosses, Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton) and Elaine Markinson (Charlize Theron) are completely irredeemably damaged people. Their cartoonishly villainous personalities are intentionally crass, stereotypically rude Americans, and seriously self-centered. This brash duo intends to corner the pharmaceutical cannabis market. In the midst of pitching the company for a friendly merger, this pair’s gearing up to clean up the books, clean house, hide illegal business practices, in the hopes of making a tidy profit. Everything’s going according to plan until Harold starts to catches on to what they’re up to.
On a trip to Mexico to visit their plant, things start to come apart at the seems when Harold goes missing. Richard calls his brother Mitch (Sharlto Copley) a semi-retired mercenary to find Harold. But things get tricky when a shady business partner joins the hunt for Harold in order to make a point to his bosses. Harold proves himself to be unexpectedly resourceful which makes for a satisfying if slightly anti-climatic finale.
There Are Plenty of Things That Don’t Work about Gringo, but David Oyelowo Isn’t One of Them
I have nothing but admiration for David Oyelowo. He’s a seriously talented actor. I had no idea he had this kind of comedy in him. Oyelowo’s Harold is deadpan, hilarious, and unabashedly ridiculous. His sincerity and skill keep this film from going off a cliff on more than one occasion. He delivers some otherwise garbage lines with such flair they work. His level-headed, yet wide-eyed honesty goes a long way to balance out a crew of unsavory or relatively flat characters. Gringo without David Oyelowo does not work.
When A Movie’s Rated R…
This is not a family-friendly movie*. Don’t let the brightly colored poster and joke heavy trailer fool you. This movie earns its R rating. Unless you’re ready to do a lot of explaining, don’t bring your non-adult children. Seriously, Gringo is an unpredictably violent trainwreck of a movie that hasn’t met a dirty joke it didn’t want to tell or an inappropriate innuendo or double entendre it didn’t want to be friends with.
Get a babysitter. Make the kids a playdate. Just don’t bring them along to Gringo.
*This message brought to you by the guy I saw hustling his pre-teen daughter out of the theater.
Gringo opens today, March 9th nationwide. In the mood for a mad caper? Hit DHTG up in the comments and let us know one of your favorite heist films!