A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gringo is a mature, over-the-top action-comedy with a complex plot that involves drugs, violence, and more. Expect lots of guns and shooting. Plus, characters are killed, blood spurts, people hit and punch each other, and cars crash. And a toe is snipped off, with bloody results. Language is extremely strong and nearly constant, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," and much more. Characters have sex with multiple partners, and there's a pretty graphic sex scene (although nudity isn't a factor). A woman uses her sexuality (including her cleavage) to manipulate men, and there's strong innuendo/sex talk. Drugs are a key part of the plot: A drug company invents a marijuana pill, and there are drug dealers and a drug mule. There are references to smoking pot as well as drinking -- the main character gets very drunk -- and pills. David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton, and Charlize Theron co-star.
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What's the story?
In GRINGO, Nigerian-born Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo) works for his friend Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton) at a Chicago pharmaceutical company. Harold isn't quite on par with the flashy, cocky Richard -- or Richard's sexy, vulgar partner, Elaine Markinson (Charlize Theron). But the three travel together to Mexico to end an off-the-books deal. Harold didn't know about the deal, but when the Mexican drug cartels get wind of it, they start to hunt him down. Also in Mexico, he learns that his wife (Thandiwe Newton) is having an affair. He runs away to a cheap Mexican hotel, where he bumps into Miles (Harry Treadaway) and his naïve girlfriend, Sunny (Amanda Seyfried), as well as a mercenary named Mitch (Sharlto Copley), who's actually Richard's brother. Harold also pretends to be kidnapped. Soon it becomes clear that Harold is worth more dead than alive, and he must decide who to trust and try to escape before that bounty is collected.
Is it any good?
This twisty action-comedy from Australian brothers Nash (who directed) and Joel Edgerton is colorful and high-energy for a long time, but its humor flags early, and the action finally gets tiring. The Edgertons are part of a collective called Blue-Tongue Films that usually deals in small, gritty crime dramas (Animal Kingdom, Wish You Were Here, etc.). Gringo is their first big, all-star movie (aside from David Michod's War Machine), and it seems a little outsized, a little overeager-to-please. It's as if the energy were ramped up very high in an effort to juggle all the balls in the air; but after a long 110 minutes, a break is needed.
That's not to say the movie is bad. In fact, while the storyline is very complex, it's quite clever and easy to follow, with endless new wrinkles, not unlike Logan Lucky. The characters are a good cross-section of types, and most of them get at least one hilarious moment, from the Mexican gangster who likes to quiz his visitors on The Beatles to Theron's snide, potty-mouth declarations and Oyelowo's Lou Costello-like reactions to his dire situation. It could have been shorter, or benefited from a little breathing room, but on the whole, Gringo is inconsequential fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does the movie handle sexual content? Is the sex here based on trust, or is it based on power? What's the difference?
Is Harold heroic? Is he likable? Why do you think he has to commit acts of violence before he finds his strength and his freedom?
- In theaters: March 9, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: June 5, 2018
- Cast: David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton
- Director: Nash Edgerton
- Studios: Amazon Studios, STX Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language throughout, violence and sexual content
- Last updated: April 6, 2021
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