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Gringo  : Familiar Lingo
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Friday, March 16, 2018
Nash Edgerton
Joel Edgerton: Richard Rusk; David Oyelowo: Harold Soyinka

Boss Richard Rusk growls at his secretary, which part of my ‘do not disturb’ message did you not get? It’s barely a surprise to then see him struggle with his trousers or find Elaine his female partner slithering up to him from the bowels of his office. Director Nash Edgerton shows his hand right away.


You’re in for a ride that’s as familiar as your daily commute to office and back. 

Richard and Elaine are clearly colleagues with benefits and ethics is being systematically chucked out of the window.


Richard’s a great boss and buddy to Harold who works for him. But it’s a bad day for Harold. He’s been funding a huge office that he can ill afford for his wife Bunny. His accountant shows him how deeply he’s in the red. He watches Richard play the ‘I watch out for you buddy’ role with all the insincerity of a crook out to gyp him. There are changes being planned at the workplace but Richard tells him to go enjoy his carrots, adding a story about gorillas and carrots. And just when Harold’s weeping to his wife that Richard has done him in, she tells him, I’m having an affair, I’m leaving you.


So there it is. Harold’s the only good guy standing. And he’s standing in Mexico, the territory he looked after so well for his office. But Richard’s new merger has put him in a fix. A drug dealer and a mercenary are on his trail. He serendipitously keeps bumping into a young couple from the US in Mexico. The guy hasn’t told his girlfriend Sunny that he’s taking her to Mexico for shady business. And she is a good girl.


Soon Mexico has black gringo Harold, shady white gringo with good white girlfriend, drug lord’s thugs on the loose, a mercenary too.


Harried Harold must now must fake his own kidnapping to prise some money out of his Richard, his cheat-boss.But boss would rather have him dead and collect the insurance money. You’ve seen this mess before. You’ve also seen it all sorted out neatly with the good guys smiling and the bad ones in jail.


The only good part is watching DavidOyelowo playing Harold as he bumbles along and stays alive. Joel Edgerton, the director’s real-life brother, is too smooth to ring true as Richard the sham. The bigger disappointment is Charlize Theron as ruthless Elaine. What a ham. 


For an action film that keeps moving but never along a new trail, Gringo gets a 2* rating. 


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author



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