Mel Gibson has had a long and oftentimes turbulent film career. He’s known as much for playing Sir William Wallace in Braveheart as he is for racist, sexist, anti-semitic comments. While many of Hollywood’s A-listers have secret issues and bigotry that sometimes rear their ugly heads in public, none have been as open and seemingly unrestricted as Gibson.
As not only an actor but also a director, producer and in this case co-screenwriter, it seemed that Gibson’s inner turmoil had manifested itself outward into the world via his films. No one can forget the bloody flogging of Christ or the painfully detailed and murderous depictions of the Mayans in his last two major films. After Apocalypto and Passion of the Christ, it was anyone’s guess as to what direction Gibson’s movies would go.
Consequently, I didn’t have high hopes for this film, but Get the Gringo was a very entertaining movie, one that surprised me with its sincerity, comedy and one that reminded me why Gibson’s still on the silver screen.
“You never set out to make a comedy. We all understood that action, drama has to come with comedy or people will get bored,” said director Adrian Grunburg.
A film about an American in a foreign prison, the movie takes you on an adventure of survival and justice. Based on a real-life social experiment in Tijuana, “El Pueblito” was first constructed in 1956 and was intended as a method of rehabilitation. It was a place where the family of convicts could live and the amenities of city life were brought to prisoners. What began as a social experiment quickly turned into a site where more crime and better drugs at lower prices reigned supreme.
In the film, Gisbon plays a thief behind the bars of El Pueblito and has to quickly learn how to survive in a prison that operates like a small town complete with restaurants, gambling and hookers. On top of that, he’s looking to get out and to get back the money he stole.
Alongside Robert Rodriguez, directorial novice Grunburg did a damn fine job of keeping the angles and shots interesting and lively, the story intriguing and the dialog humorous. In terms of filmmaking, as Grunburg explained on the red carpet before the viewing, “I had to put into practice what I learned. Everyday was somewhat unexpected.”
For anyone interested in action, adventure, comedy and a bit of violence, this just might be your thing. But don’t go looking for it in theatres, as it will be available only on DIRECTV beginning May 1.
When questioned during the Q&A after the film’s premiere as to why the film won’t be released in theatres, Gibson replied describing the evolving nature of the film industry. To him, you have to be willing to try something different in order to stay on top of what’s new.
“Many people just like to see this stuff in their homes. It’s just another way to do it. I think it’s the future,” said Gibson.