irector Gore Verbinski’s first Dreamworks’ outing was a story about a mischievous mouse (“Mousehunt
”). Full of clever special effects, nifty cinematography and a fine comedic performances by Nathan Lane
and Christopher Walken
—the net effect of “Mousehunt” was alas, singularly unfunny. Which only goes to show that without good writing, this most visual of mediums rarely delivers. Verbinski’s latest film, “The Mexican”, happily is a different story.
In place of a rascally rodent, the star of this movie is an antique hand-tooled pistol known as “the Mexican.” It is the Golden Fleece, if you will, that a hapless L.A. loser named Jerry Welbach (Brad Pitt
) has been sent in quest of. This Lawrence Bender-produced film tells the tale in as entertaining a way as any of his Quentin Tarantino
opuses (“Pulp Fiction
,” “Reservoir Dogs”). Thankfully, with a whole lot less gore. (By the way, how come Christopher Walken
was in “Mousehunt” instead of this mobster-filled film?)
Jerry, it seems, has a debt to pay off to a underworld boss by the name of Margolese. Margolese has been sent up the river through a providential fender-bender with young Welbach. (Something about a guy locked in Margolese’ trunk.) Anyway, Margolese is set to come out of prison in a few days and that makes Jerry’s errand to Mexico all the more urgent. In an elaborate plot full of crosses and double-crosses, we learn the legend of the Mexican pistol’s star-crossed lovers in dribs and drabs. Each subsequent rendition giving you more details about this gun that has apparently never shot straight. So why is it so darn valuable? Beats me.
One of the many subplots of the movie deals with Jerry’s pop-psychology girlfiend Sam, played by Julia Roberts
in all her wide-mouthed glory. Jerry’s unforeseen gun run to Mexico comes at a very dicey time in their very dicey relationship. One of the funniest scenes in the movie show the couple trying to deal with this bump in their partnership. As a ranting Sam throws all of his belongings into the street, Jerry calmly attempts to frame this full-tilt argument in the psychologically-correct language of their group therapist.
There are some outstanding performances matched by an outstanding screenplay by J.H. Wyman. (That good writing thing, I mentioned.) Brad Pitt
gives his best comedic performance since “12 Monkeys
”. And “The Soprano’s” star James Gandolfini
gives a terrific performance as Leon, a homosexual hit man with a heart of gold.
From a Christian perspective what I found truly wonderful about this movie, replete with gangland slayings and “alternate” lifestyles, was its oddly biblical view
. Leon asks his conflicted hostage Sam, “If people truly love each other, when do you say enough is enough?” Sam comes back with some therapist-endorsed drivel about needing her space, dead-end relationships, topped off with some flowery language about needing “sunshine to grow.” “THAT”S your answer?” asks a bewildered Leon. “Naw, the right answer is NEVER!” Never is enough, enough. True love
, Christ-like love, is unrelenting.
—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer
Now many in the contemporary Christian community will fault this movie for its wanton violence, profanity (70+ F-words) and sexual perversion. But in a day when the rate of Christian divorce EXCEEDS the divorce rate of the general public, “The Mexican” is a movie with a message that is sorely needed. A message that is perhaps more biblical than some of the felt needs psycho-babble that many “Christian” counselors are dispensing to our troubled marriages.
There are plenty of movies out there with happy endings. It is truly refreshing to find one where happiness is framed in biblical dimensions. Love is more than hormonal infatuation or a state of mutual back-scratching. Real love, true love is about enduring trials, sacrificing one’s self and being so totally committed to the other person that “enough is never enough.” And that, folks, is worth the price of admission.