Dark Comedy Thriller Starring the Best Mob Boss Ever, Stream Right Now

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

the mexican

The world lost a brilliant actor in 2013 when James Gandolfini died suddenly of a heart attack. And while many of you probably know him as the greatest mob boss of all time, you might not have seen him in his smaller supporting character roles. One such role is that of hitman Leroy in The Mexican

The Mexican

The Mexican, directed by Gore Verbinski, and released in 2001, was actually meant to be a small film with unknown, up-and-coming actors. But Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, good friends by this time, both became intrigued at the idea of starring in it together. Roberts signed on first, and Pitt joined the cast shortly thereafter–both instantly knew Leroy had to be played by Gandolfini. 

Roberts said she had been a huge fan of Gandolfini’s, and he said the same about her. According to rumors and interviews, Roberts apparently told Pitt they had to get Gandolfini to play this character, and Pitt convinced him to do it. 

A Change Of Pace

It wasn’t an easy decision, of course. For those unaware, by the time filming for The Mexican began, Gandolfini had already been playing Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos for a couple of years. He had established himself as a terrifying mob boss with heart and had also played a brutal hitman in True Romance, and he was starting to feel typecast.

The Premise

In The Mexican, Jerry Welback (Pitt) and Sam Barzel (Roberts) are “on a break” from their deeply loving but tumultuous relationship. Sam heads to Las Vegas to become a card dealer, because she has “great hands,” and Jerry finds himself caught up in some organized crime drama, involving heading Mexico to retrieve an antique gun for his boss. 

Meanwhile, a hitman is sent to kidnap Sam to make sure Jerry holds up his end of the deal. Enter Gandolfini’s character, Leroy 


What is unexpected about this turn of events is that while Leroy does kidnap Sam, and he does strike a terrifying figure, he and Sam also become friends along the way. Leroy reveals he’s gay, and he even falls in love with an unsuspecting man who joins the two for a night of festivities. 

So, the actor known best for playing Tony Soprano, notoriously averse to homosexuals, becomes homosexual himself in a sweet twist of fate. 

The Answer Is Never

the mexican

The Mexican is a fun film, filled with mystery, intrigue, stupid mistakes, and deep emotion. You cannot help but cheer for Jerry and Sam’s love even as you’re hoping they both make it out alive.

The theme of The Mexican, by the end of the movie, is summed up quite well by the question Leroy poses to Sam. “If two people love each other, really love each other, but they just can’t seem to get it together, when do they finally say enough is enough?” 

And while Sam bungles for an answer, Leroy answers himself: never.

The answer is “never.” 

Stream It Now


The Mexican is a film that truly never gives up. It hooks you from the first car accident, through laundry being thrown over an apartment balcony, through the rental of an “authentic” car scene in Mexico (“El Camino”), and in and out of life, death, and love. 

It’s well worth watching, and it is truly unforgettable once you’ve seen it. You can stream it free on Hoopla and Pluto.