I feel like every review I’ll ever write about a Mel Gibson film will feature a sentence similar to the one I’m about to type but here goes. Say what you will about Mel Gibson’s personal life, the man knows how to act. His previous two films, Edge of Darkness and The Beaver, were both mediocre (at best) but both put Gibson on display as a reminder of what a force he truly can be. In each of those films, however, I got the impression that Gibson was trying too hard; trying to make the world forget his drunken rants, trying to reestablish his career, and trying to prove to himself that he still had something to give. Gringo, on the other hand, works because Gibson seems to be completely comfortable in his role. Driver is smart mouthed, quick thinking, and even keel, a mix that has worked wonderfully for Gibson in the past and one that he settles into again from the outset. There’s an edge of cool to Driver that makes him a charismatic personality despite his numerous flaws and keeps the viewer locked in. It isn’t so much that you root for Driver; it’s that he’s so interesting and unpredictable that you just want to see what will happen next. I can’t remember the last time Gibson was this good and this focused but I think it’s safe to say that Driver holds up well against most of his best performances. Gringo isn’t perfect but Gibson gives it life when it begins to drag and his presence alone makes this a solid, enjoyable experience.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
In Home Viewings: "Get the Gringo"
After stealing a sizeable amount of money from Frank (Peter Stromare), a notorious gangster, Driver (Mel Gibson) and his soon-to-be-deceased partner make a mad dash for the Mexican border, only to be apprehended by the Federales. The crooked cops take the money and ship Driver off to a prison unlike anything he’s ever encountered in the States. Instead of cells and guards, the prison, known as El Pueblito, is essentially a third world bazar run by the inmates, a place where a man can buy anything he wants except freedom. While attempting to gain his bearings and keep himself alive, Driver becomes fast friends with Kid (Kevin Hernandez), a child with an odd connection to El Pueblito’s unofficial leader Javi (Daniel Gimenez Cacho). With tension running high and members of both Frank’s crew and the prison’s gang closing in on him, Driver makes a play to save not only his own life but also the life of Kid.