The Love Gun
The Mexican
Review by Ross Anthony

Tone down the "Snatch"-like incompetent-thugs-botch-the-crime comedy genre and add a love story (with Julia Roberts no less) and you've got "The Mexican." An attempt to give a so-called guy-flick a sex change? Or at least make it unisex? The MexicanThough both genres are compromised, don't let that stop you - this is still a pretty darned good film!

Brad and Julia love each other, but only seem to be able to express themselves by yelling, occasionally borrowing lingo from their group therapist or self-help books, "Oh, now your blame-shifting!"

Bad luck follows Brad like a rabid dog. His thug boss loses his patience at the start of the picture, "'I can explain' is something you say once in a blue moon, not every time you're given a task." Handling the proverbial "last job," Brad flies down to Mexico to retrieve a highly-valued legendary pistol named (Latin horns please ...) "The Mexican." Julia also loses her patience and takes off for Las Vegas upon Brad's departure where she is kidnapped by an intermediate thug (Gandolfini) whose job it is to "regulate funkiness." (That is, a hostaged Julia equals collateral against Brad's funky behavior.)

Roberts and Pitt shine, but the script never shows us any on-screen love between them. Roberts and Gandolfini, however, now there's some sweet subtle romance. Gandolfini is such a strong actor, Roberts has to work overtime just to share the screen with him (And I think The Mexicanshe's a sensational actor!). "You are a very sensitive person for a cold blooded killer." They polish a superb diner scene at the beginning of the second act. Btw, it was Julia who brought Gandolfini to the film.

Sharply timed emotional music sparks the mood and prompts audio/visual irony - nicely done. Also, the varying legends of the aforementioned hand-carved weapon are told marvelously tongue and cheek with just a pinch of gunpowder. They flicker in 16mm sepia. Of smaller note, I loved a slow-mo shot of Pitt play-shooting a small group of kids pretending to be shooting him ... all in good fun.

In addition to the lack of chemistry between Pitt and Roberts (which doesn't effect the film since they seldom share screentime), "The Mexican" slows in a few spots. One other blemish, the climax sequence, though tying a tight knot, is dulled by an implausibility (sorry, can't discuss that without spoiling).

Overall, I had a good time. A very strong B+.

  • The Mexican. Copyright © 2001. Rated R.
  • Starring Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, J.K. Simmons, Bob Balaban, Sherman Augustus, Michael Cerveris, Richard Coca, Castulo Guerra.
  • Directed by Gore Verbinski.
  • Written by J.H. Wyman.
  • Produced by Lawrence Bender and John Baldecchi at Dreamworks/Newmarket.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:03:28 PDT