Sunday, July 16, 2017

Movie #413: The Mexican

The Mexican is a crime caper/rom-com starring Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gadolfini, JK Simmons, Bob Balaban, and Gene Hackman. It's a kind of weird movie, but it's one I enjoy.

Jerry (Pitt) and Sam (Roberts) are having relationship problems, stemming mainly from the fact that Jerry is working off a debt to a mob boss named Margolese (Hackman). As his last job, Jerry is tasked with going to Mexico and retrieving an orate pistol simply called "the Mexican." Sam leaves him (since his last job was supposed to be his final job), but is almost immediately abducted by a hitman (Gandolfini) in service to Nayman (Balaban), Margolese's traitorous henchman. Meanwhile, Jerry is just kind of bumblefucking his way through the job, dealing with a stolen car, a crooked cop, a feral dog, and the fact that his buddy Ted (Simmons) has been sent to kill him.

Hands-down, the best thing about this movie is Gandolfini. His portrayal of "Leroy" (actually Winston) as a highly competent, professional heavy who is dealing with relationship problems of his own - he can't seem to find a man he can really connect with - is really touching, and his sexuality is dealt with pretty well, considering when the movie was made. Him opening up to Sam is clearly a risk, and he slips back into hardass professional mode (but with some regrets) when things begin to go south. And then of course Jerry shoots him, which makes perfect sense in context (Winston did kidnap Sam and kill Leroy, the guy that was acting on behalf of Margolese), but is still really heartbreaking as it happens.

I like, too, that both Sam and Jerry have their issues. Sure, Jerry is a bit of a schlub, but Sam is so saturated in psychobabble that she can't always communicate with words, and as much as she accuses Jerry of being selfish, she does seem to miss that they're dealing with people who are happy to shoot him. Through all that, though, I think you buy them as a couple and they have some chemistry when they're together.

All in all: It's funny, touching, and the action scenes are fun. It's a weird movie, but it's a good one.

My Grade: A-
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil