|Film Brats - Reviews|
The story doesn’t sound like the best idea in the world, but the execution is great. Most action-oriented films would either provide a short set-up or jump right into pure adrenaline with no stopping. “El Mariachi” actually starts off the same way. The opening scene where Azul escapes from jail and kills his assailants makes for a cheesy short film. After this initial attention grabbing sequence, the film alternates the pace appropriately. It’s not afraid to slow down and let the story build. An actual love story builds up, rather than providing a gratuitous sex scene. There’s a necessity for all the action that takes place. Instead of a battle between who’s got the bigger guns, we watch a man who must shoot these people in order to get away from them.
Robert Rodriguez did virtually everything but act in his first cinematic outing – performing 11 duties. Already he has developed an interesting style. Robert makes this film slightly disorienting without making the audience uneasy. He’s one of the few directors out there that could actually speed up some actions and get away with it. Most films overuse the slow motion, so to see an action movie where nearly every jump or fall was shown at a normal frame rate is quite refreshing.
The extremely low budget has been made common knowledge. The low budget can be easily seen in the lack of lighting and in the sound track. Despite a large supply of lighting equipment at his disposal, Rodriguez creates a nice variation of moods between his locations. It goes to show how effective paint on a wall and time of day can be. Also, due to the lack of synchronous sound capability, he inserted many insert shots of people picking up cups and things like that. Actually, these shots provide two functions. It masks the bad synch points and brings out his attention to detail and willingness to get the scene right.
My only real complaint on Robert’s style is that the fish-eye is a little overused. “El Mariachi” is a wonderful film. It has heart, great action, suspenseful chase sequences and a good amount of humor as well. If I could change anything, it would be the acting. These people are not exactly professionals, but they spoke too dramatically and it turned out forced. Had the film been made as a farce, the performances would be perfect. However, they are not so terrible that the film suffers. It’s a spectacularly fun flick to watch. Not only do you see the mariachi transform his personality, you see the director transform into a future big shot.
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