In my first review of Empire’s 50 Greatest Independent Films, I watched Robert Rodriguez’s debut, El Mariachi. This film was made for $7000 and relied solely on Rodriguez’s skills and abilities as a film maker. He did everything but act and it’s impressive.
This movie sums up everything about Independent Films. Robert Rodriguez had a vision and knew that in order for it to come to fruition, he had to go out and do it himself. Considering this micro budget and lack of serious actors, the movie came out fantastic. What it didn’t have in fancy effects, he made up for in story telling. While the dialogue wasn’t the smoothest and most fluid, we as viewers understood.
The most important part of this film is its ability to create a world where you believe this could happen. A small town in Mexico where a crime lord reigns supreme is tough to convey through a foreign language, but the implied backstory between the feuding gangsters is executed perfectly. The only drawback I found with this film is completely forgiven. It’s shaky cam and quick cuts take me out of scenes sometimes but are there because of budget costs and the lack of trained actors.
I should note that his special effects were better than some of the effects of a big budget blockbuster. The squibs used were flawless and his gun sounds and use of practical effects (like a blown off hand) are inspiring for what it cost.
This was a great film to kick off the list with and I’m not sure what I’ll watch next but it’s going to be great.
El Mariachi: 8.1/10