Directors: Adrian Grunberg
Cast: Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Bob Gunton, Kevin Hernandez, Doloros Heredia
SAY what you will about Mel Gibson’s personal life, but the man sure knows how to get the job done when it comes to his craft. What started out as an acting career in the likes of Lethal Weapon, flourished into some seriously talented storytelling behind (or on both sides of) the camera with films such as Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto.
Nowadays, Mel is returning to the acting side of things, having shown that he’s still got the leading-man goods with recent films Edge of Darkness and The Beaver. Get the Gringo rounds off a trilogy of awesome in terms of Mel’s performances, as he steps into the getaway driver’s seat of an unnamed protagonist who ends up on the wrong side of the law in Mexico. Dodgy Mexican cops take his hefty score, while his reward is to be thrown into a prison unlike any other. The goal: escape and get his money back.
It has the usual prison tropes—gangs, violence and a shrewd protagonist eager to escape—but it’s also attached to a populated slum where the families of the inmates visit and, in some instances, live. Mel has to get used to this foreign prison world at the same pace that the audience does, which makes for a unique take on the prison/gangster formula and, ultimately, an engaging world.
The tone of the film is similar to In Bruges or The Wrong Man in that it bounces between hysterical black comedy and dark drama with comparative ease. In fact, Get the Gringo almost recklessly shifts between genres and techniques in a way that should result in a mess but, instead, meshes together in an entertaining way that comes across as both unique and effective.
Ageing Mel shows he’s far from being over the hill and still able to convincingly go toe to toe with gunfights, human drama and comedic timing. Get the Gringo is a little rough around the edges, but it ticks all the right boxes for a mature yarn that is well worth watching.
GET THE GRINGO is in cinemas now.
Review: Nathan Lawrence