Sometimes you don’t want the big budget superhero movie.
Sometimes you aren’t looking for explosions and aliens and bucketloads of CGI.
Sometimes you just want a quirky, ridiculous, medium-budget action-ish movie with a fun cast.
Sometimes you want something like Gringo.
The new film from Aussie director Nash Edgerton (The Square) is an absurd, enjoyable adventure for a night at the movies.
The plot is so weird and wacky that it wouldn’t be out of place in a Coen Brothers or Steven Soderbergh film.
It follows middle-management executive Harold Soyinka (David Oyelowo, who played Dr Martin Luther King Jr in Selma) as he encounters some cartel trouble on a business trip to Mexico.
His bosses Richard (Joel Edgerton, Red Sparrow) and Elaine (Charlize Theron, Atomic Blonde) must figure out a way to get him safely back to the States – if it’s not too much of an inconvenience for them.
Richard and Elaine are deeply unlikeable people, they’re rude and abrasive, offensive to everyone and care only about themselves.
It is delightful to see Edgerton and Theron inhabit the roles and they seem to be having a glorious time doing it.
For a movie about Americans there are very few Americans in the cast – Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!) is the only core cast member actually from the US.
Edgerton is Australian, Theron and Sharlto Copley (District 9) are South African, and Oyelowo and Thandie Newton (Westworld) are British.
The ensemble cast is great, each character quirky and interesting in their own right.
They can be both hateful and impressive, naive and jaded, ruthless and eccentric – these characters thrive on their ability to surprise.
Gringo feels like a fun passion project from the cast and crew – at no time does it take itself too seriously or ask you to think about anything too deeply.
It’s over-the-top, outrageous and darkly comic.
Keep an eye out as well for the film debut of Paris Jackson, daughter of Michael Jackson. A director from across the pond also makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance.