El mariachi (1992)
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez | 79 minutes | action, thriller | Actors: Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gomez, Peter Marquardt, Reinol Martinez
El Mariachi is a guitar player who arrives in a small Mexican village in search of work. He walks into a bar, but is not hired. At the same time, a murderer arrives at the village. His name is Azul and he also carries a guitar case, but full of weapons. He wants to kill the local drug lord Moco. When Moco’s henchmen go in search of their boss’s nemesis, they mistake El Mariachi for Azul. El Mariachi is forced to run for his life, without knowing why. He finds his only support in Domino, the owner of a local bar and sweetheart of Moco.
As is known, child prodigy Robert Rodriguez made this film for less than seven thousand dollars. The fact that this is not at the expense of the quality of the film is proof that a large budget does not automatically lead to better films, quite the contrary. Rodriguez used friends and locals as actors, and many actors play different roles. After they are shot dead in one scene, we see them again later, but then with mustache and sunglasses, for example as a driver. This is all very cleverly done and because it’s a fast-paced movie you’ll barely notice it even if it’s pointed out to you (when listening to Rodriguez’s commentary on the DVD).
That the actors have no experience is not a disadvantage. Carlos Gallardo, who plays El Mariachi, actually comes across better because of this, because it seems like he really doesn’t know what hit him. This is also true, because Rodriguez didn’t let any of the actors read the script. ‘El Mariachi’ is exciting and has enough humor. Although the story is a bit simple and the characters are shallow (there are only good guys and bad guys), it is a pleasure to watch. The enthusiasm with which the film was made is evident. You wonder if the end product would have been the same if Rodriguez had known that this film would be watched by millions of people worldwide. After all, his intention was to make three such films, as an exercise, and to release it only on the Spanish-language video market. Therefore, some scenes have not been redone and have some errors in them, such as cameras visible in windows and chronological errors. But despite that ‘El Mariachi’ remains a small masterpiece.