"'El' is NOT about a Mariachi band (sorry all you mariachi fans)"
The Film that jumpstarted the independant independant's.Much has been made of Rodriguez's budget for El Mariachi, a mere $7,000, and has inspired other mavericks to dream or even act on their own movie-making fantasies. This is not a technical review: if you want the in's and out's of how it was done, go to your local bookstore (if you can tear yourself away form the VCR) and pick up a copy of "Rebel Without a Crew" the making-of saga of El Mariachi.
If at all possible, I like watching director's movies in chronological order. El Mariachi was my first taste of Rodriguez and I liked it. The camera movements were innovative without being pretentious and there was an underlying sense of humor with his shooting style.
The story is told by the Mariachi in the movie title. El Mariachi is on the road looking for gigs. He wanders into a town where the ubiquitous mistaken identity storyline begins to unfold, complete with a nasty drug lord and lovely damsel in distress. However re-tread the story seems in the beginning, it does evolve to become an interesting plot. The damsel, Domino(Gomez), isn't exactly helpless and she's got some admirable backbone. I liked the drug lord, Moco(Marquardt), it was refreshing to see the bad guy played by a white guy, when in so many movies the drug lord is hispanic. It was an interesting indictment of the real role the US plays in the drug wars in Mexico: how although the US continually exerts pressure on the Mexican people, the US is the source of the demand for drugs. I'm not sure if Rodriguez ment it to be ironical, but I found it so. All told, I thought El Mariachi was well done and had a fun evolving storyline. On an even better note, there was a short attached to the version of El Mariachi I rented called "Bedhead." It was thoroughly enjoyable, and even if you can't stand El Mariachi, fast forward to catch "Bedhead."El Mariachi was a great ride, a good introduction to Rodriguez and a blast to see what was done on $7,000!