Starring: David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton, Charlize Theron
Directed by: Nash Edgerton (“The Square”)
Written by: Anthony Tambakis (“Warrior”) and Matthew Stone (“Intolerable Cruelty”)
It’s been a decade since filmmaker Nash Edgerton, brother of actor/director Joel Edgerton (“The Gift”), released his first feature film, “The Square,” an exciting Australian crime drama that finds a unique way of telling a typical bag-of-money story without going through the same tired tropes (it’s comparable to 1998’s “A Simple Plan”).
With “Gringo,” Edgerton, even with an impressive cast, which includes his brother in a lead role, can’t recapture the same kind of thrills his debut movie provided. Leading the way is actor David Oyelowo (“Selma”) as Harold, a mid-level manager who fakes his own kidnapping in Mexico while helping his horrible bosses Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton) and Elaine Markinson (Charlize Theron) close a deal on a marijuana pill that could make their pharmaceutical company tons of cash. The biggest problem with “Gringo” is that there are far too many unnecessary subplots, which the weak narrative can’t support.
Plus, besides Harold, the majority of the characters are so unlikeable, it’s impossible to invest much into them. If the dark comical personality traits of Richard and Elaine worked better, it would be a different story, but none of what they do or say feels authentic or even satirical enough to keep the film’s tone from going off the rails. “Gringo” definitely has a nasty streak, but Edgerton and crew fail to make it cut deep enough.