Remember those movies that had a carefree vibe but still managed to keep you really engaged? You could watch them anytime and you were certain that there would be no sappy, melodramatic scenes and that the movie is going to look great. The Mexican is a movie like that. Directed by Gore Verbinski and written by J.H. Wyman, this is a mixture of action and comedy with some tasteful romance. And this is coming from a guy who has one or two romance movies reviewed here.
Starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, it features a really strong cast with four Oscar winners and two nominees. Without their help, this movie might have veered off in some other direction, but they kept it on point. I say that because, at times, the story seems a little chaotic and unpredictable. However, without this, it wouldn’t be as engaging as it is with it. It all comes off as this breezy black comedy with a lot of familiar faces. It has that lively spirit of eighties adventure movies like Romancing the Stone but translated into a different environment.
Jerry Welbach is not the smartest tool in the shed. And this didn’t help him when he accidentally hit a mob boss, promptly sending him to jail. Lucky to be alive, he’s tasked with doing various missions for him and after five years of that, he’s finally ready to settle his score in this last mission. It’s a simple job, go to Mexico, retrieve a priceless gun, and get it safely back to the States. However, this last job was also the last straw with his girlfriend Samantha who decides to leave him as he’s getting ready to go. What will happen with the gun, mob boss and his girlfriend is up to you to find out.
Cinematography is one of the elements that impressed me the most here. Scenes in Mexico were dreamy and looked authentic, not to mention the stylish flashbacks about the whole history of the gun, sucking you into this world where everything seems possible. I want to say that this is a modern fairy tale, but there are so many elements here that it’s not one singular thing.
At the same time, you have this quest for the gun, you have individual destinies of the characters as well as their relationships developing and influencing each other and giving the viewer a sense of the complete world. And this feeling of a complete world, where you don’t see the lazy cardboard cutouts of the characters or sets, but they all seem to be functioning on some other level, that is what gives this movie its flavor. Enjoy.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, J.K. Simmons, Bob Balaban, Sherman Augustus, David Krumholtz
Fun Stuff: It was on the set of this movie that Julia Roberts met her husband, cameraman Daniel Moder. The apparently vicious “rabid dog” in the back of the truck is actually a Golden Retriever with its fur badly trimmed and dyed to look like a mutt.