By Gregory Crofton
This documentary by Nanette Burstein (ON THE ROPES, THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE, AMERICAN TEEN) is on a VICE-like topic except it’s much better than anything produced by that network. Why? Because Burstein spent longer than three days investigating the complicated story of John McAfee.
VICE stories often exceed the standard of evening news but fall far short of a good documentary, which often takes years to produce. Burstein travels to Belize and unravels the story, or in this case, multiple stories. She doesn’t get a sit-down on-camera interview with McAfee, but he emails her plenty and she includes those emails.
The film accuses McAfee, who made a fortune in the U.S. computer virus protection business before moving to Belize, of ordering or participating in three separate attacks that involve rape, torture or murder. Burstein also provides much needed context for “the dog poisoning story,” one so many Americans have read about through VICE magazine and other media. To her credit, the director refuses to not report McAfee’s outrageous sexual proclivities, one of which is surely extremely embarrassing to him.
If you don’t have access to Showtime and can’t see “GRINGO” right away, wait for it to arrive on Netflix or Redbox. It’s more entertaining than most Hollywood movies, and it’s especially relevant because McAfee is again living in the U.S. as a free man. In fact, he was a 2016 candidate for president, and he was recently hired to be CEO at a computer security firm.