Poor Harold Soyinka just can’t catch a break. He also can’t stop getting kidnapped. This dark comedy throws a lot at the audience and not all of it sticks. Its mix of violence and black humour wedged between tales of corporate greed and unfulfilled family life doesn’t always gel comfortably.
David Oyelowo (Selma & Nightingale) plays Harold, a mild mannered accountant whose life is about to change in the most dramatic of ways. His behind the scenes work at a company run by college mate Richard Rusk (Joel Edgerton) takes a turn for the worse, when the conniving Rusk and his female off-sider Elaine Markinson (Charlize Theron) run afoul of a Mexican drug lord.
Theron overplays her wicked character to the hilt and it’s fun to see how low she will go. Edgerton, whose real life brother Nash directed the film, plays her nervous and twitchy co-conspirator with uneven comic timing. Together they are not the most effective criminals and this inadequacy forms one of the film’s comic tent poles.
Gringo has its moments and they arrive mostly from Oyelowo transition from the duped to the man in charge, while Theron’s amoral character bubbles away in the background. The seeds of a engaging film are there but it leaves the audience a bit to much work to make them bloom.