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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Mexican (2001)

A goof-off (Brad Pitt) working for a minor mobster (Bob Balaban in the film's only bad performance) is sent to Mexico to retrieve a legendary gun named The Mexican. But he's not the only one after the gun. Meanwhile, his girlfriend (Julia Roberts) is held hostage by a hitman (James Gandolfini) just to be sure Pitt toes the line. There's going to be a lot of dead bodies before the journey is over. Directed by Gore Verbinski when he still did small films before he becoming a mega-director via the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise, this is a terrific movie that still hasn't found its audience. It's a dark comedy that balances giddy comedy, stark violence and poignant human moments. Audiences at the time were expecting a Pitt/Roberts romcom and what they got was this quirky "Road" movie where Pitt and Roberts actually have very little screen time together. It's a testament to Pitt's charm and screen presence that he makes his total dickhead so likable and Roberts' role allows her to run the gamut from silly capriciousness to emotionally charged dramatic moments. But the film belongs to James Gandolfini's (who passed away today hence the revisit) superb performance as a gay assassin who begins to question his choice of career. If the film had been a big success, an Oscar nomination would have been a given. Alan Silvestri's score is a nice homage to the spaghetti western. If you haven't seen it, it's highly recommended. With Gene Hackman, J.K. Simmons, David Krumholtz and Michael Cerveris.

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