Projections - Movie Reviews

The Mexican

The Mexican

With the exception of Thelma and Louise road pictures tend to be drab, dull and too long.  Brad Pitt's pivotal role in that success doesn't help The Mexican.

Director Gore Verbinski has many successful commercials - we are all familiar with the Budweiser "Frogs," - his handling of The Mexican however won't sell the product.  Even with the star power of Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts and a sterling performance by James Gandolfini he can't rescue this dull, tepid, extended road show.

With an old mystic legend based on a hand made silver inlayed pistol designed for a nobleman as a dowry for a young peasant bride, there is little connection of affection between Pitt's Jerry and Roberts' Samantha.  We see three versions of the legend in flash backs filmed to appear as old film stock, explaining the intrinsic value of the gun and its history of violence and passion.

Jerry and Samantha are involved in a volatile noisy relationship, her side is the nosy side, constantly yelling complaints that he doesn't care enough about her.  Her commitment to him wanes when he agrees, under threat of death, to do one more job for an underworld boss who has employed him since Jerry crashed his car into the mafia leader's car five years before.  That is the first clue that Jerry though lovable is a looser and a very unlikely hero.

With Jerry off to Mexico searching for the Mexican, Samantha heads for Las Vegas in her new VW.  Jerry chooses an aging Camero over a 300M when he rents a vehicle in Mexico.  With both trips underway nothing is what is expected and the best plans for everyone falter into confusion.  We even watch Jerry steal back the Mexican from Mexicans who steal it from him when they are the people he is retrieving the gun for.

What might have been a parallel love story with the gun as the catalyst becomes four stories: Jerry's quest for the gun, Samantha's trip to Las Vegas, the telling and retelling of the legend and Gandolfini's Leroy, a hit man with a secret who kidnaps Samantha.

Pitt's off beat humor is better served in Snatch and Samantha is no Erin Brockovich for Roberts but Gandolfini's performance and character create the film's only value.  Samantha refers to him as a sensitive hit man, which his unusual demeanor would suggest.  He comes under her influence as if he were the captive, but he also has secrets to keep which confuse rather than deepen the plot.

While Pitt displays his considerable boyish charm, we wonder why he has a gray mangy hound with him and why he needs a passport to get out of Mexico when thousands of people legally cross the border each day without one.  Trucks traverse his path all for no reason and one electric stop light becomes a focus with no purpose.

The use of the city of Real de Catorce, which is only accessible through a 1.5 mile long tunnel that was once a mine shaft, as a film location presented an opportunity to connect Jerry and Samantha with the star crossed lovers in the legend, but even in this place where time could have stopped still among the old haciendas, we see meaningless frantic action and no romantic wonder.

The Mexican

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