"El Mariachi" is the prequel to "Desperado". This is a low budget film and from what I understand; it cost less than $10,000 to produce. Although it lacks the big names and big money of the sequel, it clarifies and sheds light on the follow-up movie.
The story is about a mariachi, (Mexican folk musician), played by the films co-producer Carlos Gallardo, looking for work in bars around a Mexican border town. He stands out amongst the locals as he dresses in black and carries a guitar case with him. The problem is that a guitar case-carrying assassin comes into town, but instead of a guitar, his case ports guns and he is dressed much in the same manner. To further complicate matters a drug kingpin puts a contract on the assassin's head, and as luck would have it, his thugs confuse the mariachi for their mark. Things get even more tangled as Gallardo finds himself attracted to this barkeeper (Consuelo Gomez) who just happens to be the love interest of the drug lord, Moco (Peter Marquardt), who ordered the hit on the assassin. El Mariachi doesn't comprehend why he's being shot at and hunted by the mob, when all he is trying to do is eek out an existence playing his guitar. He is forced to defend himself and turns from musician to mercenary.
What is so noteworthy of the movie is not the plot or the acting but the genius that Robert Rodriguez displays as a amateur director. There is lots of speed motion filming, strange camera angles, and unusual points of view which under normal circumstances would get annoying and bothersome, but for some reason, it works well here. This movie was suitably visualized and quite rousing. I think anyone who appreciated the torturous "Blair Witch Project" would enjoy this "El Mariachi".
The movie is Spanish, with subtitles. I don't know if there is a dubbed version.
Billz Movie Worthiness Scale: C
Billz Movie Worthiness Scale Values:
A = movie tickets and popcorn for 2 (about $40)
B = buy the DVD when it comes out ($25)
C = rent it
D = wait for it to be on cable/pay TV
E = wait for it to be on regular TV
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Internet Movie Database Listing (El Mariachi)
Internet Movie Database Listing (Desperado)