Meet Harold, an underachieving middle manager of a pharmaceutical company who must travel to Mexico to sort out a mess with ‘inventory’. Meanwhile, a young couple are also travelling to Mexico to steal pills to bring home and make themselves. Add a drug-dealing Kingpin, a mercenary, and an egotistical boss, and things start to crazy for poor Harold.
Harold (Oyelowo) is what everyone of us hope we never turn into. Someone who has a hit a wall in life and has never tried to get past it. He has a wife who spends well beyond their means, a job that he was given to by his ‘friend’ and boss, and no desire to change.
This underlying tone plays throughout the movie, with Harold being forced to accept that he isn’t in control of his own destiny on multiple occasions – interestingly by different people – which is what I think this film is actually all about. It’s essentially one man’s struggle against “the system”, to face the inevitable choice between doing what’s right, i.e. following the rules, or doing what will get you higher up the ladder. This is something no doubt all of us have faced many times during our lives and, although this film is a comedy of sorts (I’ll be honest, I didn’t even smirk once), it’s meaning is actually quite stark.
Now, I wouldn’t say this is a dark or psychological film, it’s certainly not a thriller, or something that you have to spend a long time concentrating on. It feels like it’s a film about “mistaken identity”, but it totally isn’t, which actually makes it quite confusing. The one standout performance however, comes from Theron – she completely owns the bitchy, alluring yet “way-out-of-your-league” role in this – and thank goodness, as I think otherwise this would’ve been quite boring. All being said though, it is a film with a positive underlying attitude.
who should watch it?
If you’ve got a couple of hours to spend watching a film without wanting to think too much, then this should suffice.