Film Critique — Peppermint (2018)

The logline for this film says, “Five years after her husband and daughter are killed in a senseless act of violence, a woman comes back from self-imposed exile to seek revenge against those responsible and the system that let them go free.” 

Director:  Pierre Morel
Writer: Chad St. John
Starring: Jennifer Garner, John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, and Method Man

The following review will be spoiler free.


That’s the number of people killed in Mexico due to cartel related violence in 2017 alone. If that’s not scary enough, let’s remember the United States sits right next door to this bloodshed. In fact, in 2016 there were over 65,000 people seeking asylum in the United States from the oppression of the cartel.  However, what if this violence spilled in our own country while enjoying a fun day with a loved one celebrating their birthday. What if it was your child, your husband or your wife that suffered from this violence? What lengths would you go to when our own justice system has become tainted by the corruption of the powerful cartel. That is the question Riley North (Jennifer Garner) must ask herself in the film Peppermint.

Image via IMDB

After the heartless killing of her husband and daughter, Riley is left standing alone to bring the men guilty to justice. She soon discovers that not only is the District Attorney dirty, but also the judge and the lead detective.

With nothing left to give and no one to trust she falls off the face of the earth. On the fifth year anniversary of her family’s killing she returns. Riley now has martial art skills a’ la UFC and weapons training too hot for your average thug to handle. With these skills she aims to seek and destroy the people involved in this miscarriage of justice.

Riley struggles with suppressing her child’s blood yearning for justice in her veins. We see her daughter, Carly North (Cailey Fleming), serve as her spirit guide throughout the remainder of the story. She is able to use her gut and wits to track down the killers one by one until they all meet their fateful end. Single-handedly a woman takes down an entire cartel brigade in Los Angeles, CA. No special powers needed just 100% pure grit.

Image via IMDB

A Familiar Tale

In this surreal, but very familiar tale of the justice system failing, we witness the transformation of a kind and nurturing wife and mother become a beacon of karma. Her broken heart is a weapon of justice and her pain serves as the ammunition she needs.

I haven’t seen a film like this be played by a woman with so much intensity and heart since, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in The Terminator franchise, and The Bride (Uma Thurman) in Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2. There is murder in their eyes, but their heart is pure. Crawling with their bare claws, and fighting tooth and nail out of the misery and loneliness that surrounds them, not only humanizes them, but makes them the immortal heroines of a woman’s heart that happen to be mothers.

Image result for kill bill
Image via ArtStation

Speaking of mothers, I had the pleasure of watching this film with my mom and in her own words, “It was better than Wonder Woman!” Before you gasp, she’s never been a comic book or sci-fi fan, but from one mother to the other on screen, a mother always knows. What’s certain is there aren’t enough female heroine flicks, but if films like Wonder Woman and Peppermint are only the dawn, of the new beginning, the future looks bright!


Mariela Ticas lives in Los Angeles, CA. and is a regular contributor to ATRP. She is a podcast personality/co-host/blogger for “The Strange Kamelion Show” on iTunes and is an active member of Sag-Aftra as a performer. She has always been a writer at heart and got her start writing poetry as a teen. Mariela got her start in the entertainment industry back in 2012 and is now currently working on her first children’s book! On her downtime, she’s a volunteer member of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. You can follow Mariela on Instagram, or Twitter! Be sure to read her podcast blog, and scope her IMDb for upcoming features.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this piece belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

All images are property of  Lakeshore and STX or ArtStation.

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