I started with a top 10 list and decided what the hell lets see how far I can go. Top…
He didn't come looking for trouble, but trouble came looking for him.
El Mariachi just wants to play his guitar and carry on the family tradition. Unfortunately, the town he tries to find work in has another visitor...a killer who carries his guns in a guitar case. The drug lord and his henchmen mistake El Mariachi for the killer, Azul, and chase him around town trying to kill him and get his guitar case.
A case of mistaken identity leads to a heap of trouble in Robert Rodriguez's shoestring budget directorial debut. High-tech air conditioning. Tippy toes. The opening jailhouse scene proves Robert Rodriguez spent many years at John Woo's VHS film school. Guitar case. Speedy turtle. Shoe shine. You know you're in a great town when you get free coconuts. Giant sombrero. Barroom fiesta. Teléfono rápida. Rolling head. Catching the bus. El Mariachi cost around $7000 to make. I think Robert spent $6500 hiring the cool as fuck pit bull doggie. Found on road dead truck. Freaky pussycat. Domino the sexy camarero. Moco's manicure. Bubble bath. Mariachi swag. Azul ain't no joke. Desperado-esque dreams. Real motherfuckers drink beer straight from the bottle. Switcheroo.…
Made on a shoestring budget of $7,000, Robert Rodriguez managed to get a lot of bang for his buck out of his feature debut, El Mariachi. The budget constraints are obvious, but it's a damn good film considering it would have cost Roriguez more money to buy a decent used car.
El Mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) is a kind-spirited guitar player who simply wants to do as his father and grandfather did, wander through life with his guitar in hand and a song in his heart. He wanders into a small town with his guitar case looking to make a little money as a Mariachi, but is soon mistaken for a viscious hitman named Azul (Reinol Martinez), who is known for…
When you consider how little he had to work with, director Robert Rodriguez created something truly extraordinary in this, his feature film debut. It's got gun play and humor, a touch of romance, a wonderfully surreal recurring dream sequence, a suitable soundtrack and the set up for a big-budget, star-powered sequel. He also won the Audience Award at Sundance with this ... not bad at all for a rookie.
Basically, it's a film about mistaken identity. A guitarist referred to only as El Mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) hitchhikes into a small Mexican town, looking for work and to perfect his talent as a mariachi musician. Because he wears black and carries a guitar case, he is mistaken for a killer called…
There was once a guy who had a passion for films. He wanted to make a film, but he was basically broke. With the very few pesos he had in his pockets, got a cheap camera, and made a film that would change his career forever. His name was Robert. The film was about a mariachi player...
The film was made cheap as hell and it looks cheap as hell, but that's one of the reasons why I love this film. He took what little money he had (about $7,000 if I'm not mistaken) and he made quite an impression. Even as an inexperienced director, he provides some inventive shots that are quite impressive coming from a rookie director. He…
Brilliant. Expertly crafted. A truly inspiring and groundbreaking peice of independent filmmaking.
El Mariachi is all around a one of a kind masterwork!
Rodriguez's debut feature, shot in two weeks for $7,000, is a heady mix of grisliness, wry humour and charm, as a travelling guitarist (Carlos Gallardo) is mistaken for a ruthless killer, turning him from lightning-fingered balladeer to lightning-fingered desperado.
It's an excitingly rough and ready mission statement, with bloody action scenes, a touching romance and a great use of voiceover, as our hero harks back to the mariachis of old, lending the film a timelessness and cultural relevance.
Rodriguez allows some cheesiness to creep in when slimy '80s-style villain Peter Marquardt is on screen, but it's a minor shortcoming in this excellent little film, which milks the mistaken-identity plot for all its worth, aided by Gallardo's considerable charisma and likeability.
There's even time in its 82 minutes for us all to stop and listen to a nice song.
It's impressive what Rodriguez was able to achieve on such a small budget, but the limitations his limited resources still have an effect on the quality of the finished product.
El Mariachi is essentially Robert Rodriguez's starting point. It took a tiny budget and mixed in some Mexican culture and violence and viola......a intriguing new filmmaker was born.
El Mariachi is very amateurish using local Mexican actors and locations but had great vision steeped in culture. The film is very influential as noted by the induction into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. They stated that the film "helped usher in the independent movie boom of the early 1990s."
A few years later zeros were added to Rodriquez's budget ($7,000 to $7,000,000) and the story was revamped (as a sequel) in Desperado.
El Mariachi is quite the watch to see the roots of Rodriquez. Ultra-violent fun.
Part of my Best of Sundance series.
El Mariachi is a fun little film that has a better background story than the movie itself. It paved the way for Robert Rodriguez's career and quite possibly helped pave the way for other Mexican directors like Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro Inarritu. The last two have scored "Best Director" from the Oscars the past two years.
Although del Toro hasn't made any Oscar movies yet, he does make some of the most fun movies. I love Hellboy, Pacific Rim, and Pan's Labyrinth.
Rodriguez has carried a lot of clout though I just haven't been bitten by his bug yet. El Mariachi was good and it really showed you just need…
My grandpa, like Rodriguez, was raised in San Antonio, Texas by Mexican-American parents. During my childhood summers, we would often cram a mini-van full of people and take long, sweaty, sprawling road trips to San Antonio for a couple of weeks. As an adult, I can't say I would ever consider going back as I've always found even the touristy parts of the city fairly boring. My fondest memories, however, are the 36-some hours of driving, often through empty deserts and the occasional ghost town, in temperatures that usually settle in the 90s.
Unexpectedly, El Mariachi took me back to these nostalgic reminiscences, if only through its atmosphere alone. Rodriguez's Tejano heritage shows its frame in the combination of sandy…
Pure pulp, low budget, low class, and highly entertaining. It's so kinetic, it feels like the camera's about to careen into a wall. Director/writer/editor/cameraman Robert Rodriguez, 23 years old and of modest means at the time (he raised some of the film's $7,000 budget by being a test subject for medical research!), originally made it with hopes of merely cracking the Spanish-language straight-to-video market. Due to some supremely lucky breaks, the film got the attention of Columbia Pictures who bought it and put it on the arthouse circuit, where it became a hit.
What's so special about it? Aside from being a fast-paced good time with some nearly documentary views of a rundown Mexican town, El Mariachi is also a…
I generally like Robert Rodriguez movies. His camera is very alive, and I think some of his shot compositions are really great (I'm thinking of the opening of From Dusk Till Dawn here as Michael Parks' character gets out of his car and the camera moves to reveal the gas station). So it's interesting to see his famously cheap, first movie and see what he was able to do. It's a case of mistaken identity that is pretty fun throughout, with a notable arch villain performance by Peter Marquardt. It's not quite the kinetic Rodriguez that I like today, but you can see the early evidence of that. And I love that it serves as an origin story for a Mad Max like character that rides off into the sunset at the end. I want to see that sequel.
This is how small budgeted films should be made. It is epic, bold and awesomely violent and for a film made on $7,000 that is pretty fucking great. The cinemtaography and editing is sharp and stylized such as the film itself. It is a western-action-romance-gangster film that blends its genres as wells it shows actions. The pacing is fast and the violence is brutal. The romance at the heart of the film is sweet and rewarding and anchors the more chaotic and bad-ass elements of this absurd motion picture.
File under, overrated.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
First let me say that I watched this film out of order, starting with Once Upon a Time in Mexico, then watched Desperado, then El Mariachi. Silly, right? Either way, it was a great movie, very impressive for being one of Rodriguez's first films. It makes sense and doesn't at the same time. I understand the mistaken identity, but El Mariachi and Azul couldn't have looked more different! That was weird. I did enjoy the film as a whole. Robert Rodriguez has a wicked way with the camera. Even with not much of a budget, it still proved riveting.
What are the great directorial debuts?
To be clear, I am talking about feature debuts - they may have worked…
Films that I find to be (either only a bit or way too) lowly rated on Letterboxd; these are just…