Amazon’s “Gringo” begins with a frantic speakerphone call from Harold (David Oyelowo) to his two corporate Chicago bosses Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Elaine (Charlize Theron). Harold has called to say that he is in Mexico, he has been kidnapped and has a gun to his head. Oh, and they want $5M in ransom. 

The movie quickly rewinds 48 hours, allowing us see how Harold found himself in this predicament. It turns out that he has been managing the development of the pharmaceutical Cannabax, the weed pill, medical marijuana’s answer to Viagra. As the American representative of corporate, it is natural for the locals to think of him as El Jefe. Anyway, that’s who the cartel thinks he is…

The dark comedy in this show is punctuated with brutal scenes of violence. Its action sequences arrive with a crash (Befitting former stuntman turned director Nash Edgerton’s background.) and are separated with interludes of biting satire. There are plenty of other Americanos running around in this film and most of these characters are loathsome enough to make one wonder if Mexico should be building the wall, if only to keep them all out, but Harold is the gringo that everyone wants to get their hands on. This comic crime caper succeeds in entertaining the audience throughout for the period of the show and then leaves you with a few things to think about afterwards. 

We scored free tickets to the pre-showing of this movie as an attendance prize from last month’s Science on Tap. It opens in general release this weekend and eventually, it will come to rest on Amazon Prime, as original content. I enjoy going to these early screenings, because their timing gives my movie reviews more importance and allows me to feel a little bit like a big boy journalist. 😉

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