Review: Gringo | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: Gringo

Film Critic Madeline McInnis believes dark-comedy Gringo fails on all fronts

Have you ever wanted to see all the ambitious characters of Wolf of Wall Street put into a Sicario setting with a discount hippie Matthew McConaughey as a hitman? Yeah, me neither. 

Gringo is just about as forgettable as it sounds

Unfortunately, Gringo is just about as forgettable as it sounds. It relies too heavily on its star-power to get it through its runtime, and even the big names couldn’t do a thing with the awful script they were handed. The jokes fell so flat that I actually got second-hand embarrassment for the filmmakers. The only jokes that were actually funny were the seemingly random concoctions of words that Theron used as insults. 

It was worth a cringe at some of the obviously pointed jokes that not a single person in the audience laughed at. Of all of their jokes, I’d say about one in every thirty got a laugh. I think it was supposed to be a comedy, but the fact that I have to question that should really tell you something about the film. Frankly, it has no point. Every time I thought it was getting somewhere — greed, race, public health care — it got off track again. Really, the takeaway from this film is run away from your problems and everything will work out for the best. Nothing more complicated or nuanced than that. 

Theron is absolutely wasted on this movie. To put it nicely, it was below her pay grade. To put it honestly, I’m not sure why her agents ever let her do this film. She has maybe one scene that adds a bit of depth to her character, and even that falls dangerously close to playing into tropes. What was especially disappointing was that I thought this was the exact type of character Theron has spent her entire career trying to avoid. Here, she’s just a stereotype of the ambitious woman — not getting anything on her own accord, just sexualising her way into profit and tearing other women down to get there.

Instead of their choice of characters coming off as progressive, they came off as stereotypes.
 And that’s not just Theron’s character, either. Instead of their choice of characters — two women and a black man in some of the more prominent roles — coming off as progressive, which I think is what they were going for, they came off as stereotypes. Wow, Charlize Theron as the hot blonde who uses her sexuality to get to the top of the company and says ‘fuck' a lot? A black man who can’t afford to pay his bills and only got his job because of a white man? A positive woman, mistreated by her boyfriend, called Sunny? Really guys, pat yourselves on the back for your representation of complex characters. 

And there’s this stupid running metaphor of gorillas wanting bananas that maybe worked the first two times, but after that just came off as totally racist and uncomfortable. There are thousands of other metaphors and experiments that could have been referenced without those uncomfortable connotations. That also extends to the reputation of Mexico. Literally everyone is in on the crime in one way or another if they’re Mexican. Honestly, it’s no wonder everyone is afraid to leave their resort when they go there on holiday because this is how they’re represented.

Verdict: If it’s a comedy, it’s not funny. If it’s a drama, it’s more of a bore. If it’s supposed to be progressive, it completely missed the mark. Even if you were to see it for free, it’s not even worth your two hours. 




18th March 2018 at 9:00 am

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