I did not expect much from a movie titled Gringo. From the trailer it appeared like it would be a fun, goofy, action, dark dramedy. Sometimes it is OK to watch dumb humor and that is what I expected with Gringo. How many other movies where the title is a racial slur would you expect to be any good?
With a cast that includes the likes of Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Sharlto Copley, and Amanda Seyfried, it would be hard to go wrong, right?
The movie is about how an average business trip to Mexico for Harold Soyinka, quickly takes a turn for the worse and he finds himself in a tangled mess between a drug cartel, the police, and his backstabbing boss.
The movie was directed by Nash Edgerton and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes David Oyelowo, Thandie Newton, Alan Ruck, Kenneth Choi, Melonie Diaz, Harry Treadaway, and Yul Vasquez.
This is one of those movies that overcompensates in the trailer to make the movie look a lot more entertaining than it actually is.
I has its comedic moments, but not very many of them. If has some action, but not very much of it. You get to like the characters, but on a little bit. I was actually shocked at how not funny this movie was.
How do you assign the comedy genre to a movie that is not very funny? This has become more and more common for Hollywood, these days. There are too many subgenres. This is an example of a movie that is trying to be too many of those subgenres at once. It wants to be a comedy (dark, stupid, witty, goofy), drama, and action. You cannot always have your cake and eat it too. You cannot lump all of those genres in to a film and always expect to pull it off.
This movie bleeds with underused talent. It is a comedy for actors that are not known for comedy and it shows because they have a lot of trouble actually pulling off humor of any kind.
Sharlto Copley stole the show. He managed to bring the most amount of comedy and entertainment to the film, even though it still fell short.
The movie was just not very fun. I found myself a little bored about two thirds of the way through.
Overall, Gringo is a poorly written “dramedy” with a little bit of action. Even the cast cannot save this film. It is worth a rental if you are curious about the movie, but do not waste your money in the theater unless you have a MoviePass.
I rate this movie a 4 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Keeping up with the Joneses (2016)
The Hangover (2009)
The Hangover II (2011)
Horrible Bosses (2011)
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)
Hall Pass (2011)
Office Christmas Party (2016)
Bad Words (2013)
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006)
I had never even heard of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints until I rented Charlie Countryman (2013) at the Redbox. When you rent Charlie Countryman, you get A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints as a bonus movie. They give you a two-for-one, a double sided disc for the price of one movie. It’s a Shia LaBeouf double feature. They are both indie films. This was all the more intriguing to me, so I watched each movie the other night. You can guess what one of my next reviews will be.
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints was based on the book with the same title. Surprisingly enough, the man who wrote the book, Dito Montiel, also directed the movie. The movie is a film adaptation of Dito Montiel’s life growing up in Astoria, New York in the 1980s. The story is a look into a messed up childhood in a rough part of the city. It follows the struggles of inner city teenagers, Dito (Shia LaBeouf plays young Dito, and Robert Downey Jr. plays grown up Dito) and his friends as they are becoming adults. The circle of friends are pitted against drugs, violence, sex, love, hate, loss, and hardship. All the while, Dito wants to escape New York and try to make a better life for himself somewhere else.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Channing Tatum, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Rosario Dawson, Melonie Diaz, Martin Compston, Scott Michael Campbell, Anthony DeSando, Adam Scarimbolo, Peter Anthony Tambakis, Laila Liliana Garro, and Eric Roberts.
I’m surprised that this movie got past me 8 years ago, because the cast is excellent. I should have been aware of this film earlier. It’s another low-budget independent film that slipped through the cracks.
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints was hard to watch, at times, but it was also hard to stop watching. The film was an excellent depiction of how rundown certain areas of the country can be and how it affects the people living there. It’s indeed unfortunate, but it’s in-your-face honesty. Some people won’t be able to handle the honesty of this movie. The trashy characters, obscene language and other vulgarity, along with the sex, nudity, and mindless violence, among other things, will be too much for some.
But, you have to take the sweet from the sour. There is indeed a silver lining in this story. The headlining actors in this film are exceptional. The movie makes you feel like you are in the slums with the characters experiencing it all. The actors portray a remarkable friendship and camaraderie that helps you come back to the reality that people often try to be good even if they are bad.
The story is rigid and rocky, but the writing and acting make it all worthwhile. Here is an unknown gem for those who are willing to give it a chance.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
If you liked A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, you might also enjoy the following movies:
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)