Gringo (2018)

I subconsciously had really low expectations for this. I hadn’t seen any trailers for it, didn’t even know it existed until the day of release. It also featured some name actors, which is normally a good sign, but if a film with name actors is released with no fanfare, just after the Oscars, that’s normally a bad sign. It’s a sign the studio has no confidence in the film. It also had Joel Edgerton, who was last seen by me in Red Sparrow (just reread that through and that makes it sound like my reaction to that film was to murder him, rest assured it was not. Or was it?). To my surprise, I actually enjoyed this. It’s flawed, but it’s fun as hell.

David Oyelowo is entertaining in this. He normally takes roles in films like Selma, The Last King Of Scotland, and The Help. You know, really serious films aimed at winning awards. This film shows he can do comedy, and do it incredibly well. He has done comedy before, one of his early films was one called Dog Eat Dog, which I remember enjoying when I was a teen (to give you an idea of how long ago this was; I think it was on VHS), but then again I had crap taste in films then (still do to some extent) so I should probably rewatch it. His character is one of the most sympathetic characters in cinema this year, especially compared to how shitty everybody else is.

Kind of loved the story of this, it was so intricately woven, where it was one misfortune that then led to another one, all these different strings tied together to create a whole image and if you pulled just one away the whole thing would collapse. It bought to mind a Noel Coward farce, only with more guns and drugs. It actually is very much like those old films, where a group of characters (some of whom never even meet) are all trying to get a certain object (which in this case, is a person. Awkward) but they all keep getting in each other’s way which means they all get further and further away. A big criticism is some of the characters could have been fleshed out more, Harry Treadaway’s character, in particular, seemed particularly under-developed. Which is strange as in the opening section he was given a lot to do, but the longer the film went on the more it seemed like the writers kind of forgot about him and didn’t know what to do with him. Shame as despite having no idea who he is as an actor, this performance made me a fan. Has an unexplainable presence on the screen where he just seems to fully own everything his character is and does. Really hope I see him again in more things as he’s definitely got the tools needed to be great, he’d make a brilliant villain in a Marvel film actually. So in summary: watch this if you get the chance, but you don’t need to go out of your way to watch it.

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