Release Date: March 02, 2001
Starring: Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt,
James Gandolfini, Bob Balaban,
& Gene Hackman
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Thriller
Audience: Older teenagers & adults
Runtime: 123 minutes
Director: Gore Verbinski
Executive Producer: Christopher Ball, Aaron Ryder,
Steven Spielberg, William
Tyrer, & J.H. Wyman
Producer: John Baldecchi & Lawrence
Writer: J. H. Wyman
Address Comments To:David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg & Steven Spielberg
100 Universal Plaza, Bldg. 10
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Pitt plays a bumbling young man named Jerry who owes some favors to a gangster, because he accidentally crashed into the gangster’s car. When the police came to investigate, they found a man bound and gagged in the gangster’s trunk, which sent him to jail.
Jerry receives two ultimatums. As Jerry’s final job to repay his “debt,” his mob boss wants Jerry to travel to Mexico to get a priceless antique pistol called “the Mexican” or he will suffer the consequences. The other ultimatum comes from his girlfriend, Samantha, played by Julia Roberts who wants him to forget his association with the mob and come to Las Vegas with her. Jerry figures that being alive is the better alternative to being in trouble with his girlfriend, so he splits for the border.
Finding the pistol is easy but getting it home is a whole other matter. The pistol supposedly carries a curse – a curse Jerry is given every reason to believe, especially when Samantha, on her way to Vegas, is held hostage by a hit man named Leroy, played by James Gandolfini of TV’s THE SOPRANOS. Leroy apparently is working for Jerry’s boss, to ensure that Jerry gives back the pistol. As Jerry finds more trouble south of the border than he expected, Samantha passes the time by trying to learn more about Leroy, who turns out to be a lonely man with homosexual “tendencies.” Leroy tells her not to give up on Jerry if she loves him, which happens to be wise advice that saves both her and Jerry’s life in the movie’s climax.
One of the themes of THE MEXICAN is that not everything, nor everyone, is as they seem. Thus, the hitman who kidnaps Samantha turns out to homosexually inclined, and Jerry’s boss turns out to be somewhat repentant. In fact, Jerry’s boss thinks the crash which sent him to jail was a fateful incident meant to correct the curse of the gun, which led to the death of two lovers, one by suicide. Jerry’s boss is touched by the story, which he hears in jail from the descendent of the gunsmith who made the cursed weapon.
There’s a very mild Christian, even Roman Catholic, worldview in THE MEXICAN, which, besides the name recognition of stars Roberts, Pitt and Gandolfini, may be why it’s replaced HANNIBAL as the Number One movie in America. In THE MEXICAN, faithful love redeems bad relationships, but only in part. A price must still be paid, even the price of death, and sometimes only a miracle can save you.
Despite the politically correct aspect of the movie’s homosexual hitman, the conversational scenes between Samantha and the hitman have a sweet quality to them. This quality, however, is undercut by the movie’s pagan attitude favoring sex of any kind before commitment. Thus, Samantha encourages the hitman to engage in sodomy with a hitchhiking homosexual mailman they just happen to pick up along the way to Vegas. Ironically, this sudden “affair” results in a tragic death. If God, or “fate,” brought Jerry and the gangster together so that the gangster could redeem two tragic deaths, then perhaps the death coming from this homosexual act is also an act of God, an act of judgment rather than an act of redemption. The movie also reveals that the homosexual hitman is harboring another, even more dreadful, secret from Samantha, which may add to the anti-homosexual subtext in THE MEXICAN. Thus, the homosexual lobby in Hollywood may not have all that much to cheer about if they think what kind of homosexual role models THE MEXICAN really shows moviegoers.
Viewed in this light, the filmmakers’ decision to turn the hitman into a homosexual is a senseless, ill-conceived capitulation to the whims of political correctness in America. As such, it doesn’t really belong in the movie. In fact, it may destroy the movie’s credibility for many people. The Christian, redemptive qualities to this movie cannot assuage this problem, or the movie’s cavalier attitude toward sexual promiscuity, its comic violence and its inordinate use of strong foul language.
THE MEXICAN has a very mild Christian, even Roman Catholic, worldview, where faithful love redeems bad relationships, but only in part. Also, a God-fearing Mexican proclaims a miracle at the end of the movie. Spoiling this worldview, and the movie’s sweeter, lovably wacky elements, are politically correct sentiments regarding immoral homosexual behavior, the movie’s advocacy of sexual promiscuity and an inordinate use of strong foul language. THE MEXICAN’s redemptive, Christian qualities are not strong enough to assuage these problems.