El Mariachi

June 1, 2010
If anybody's a perfect example of an indie filmmaker getting big, it's Robert Rodriguez. There really weren't too many great expectations about his debut film, El Mariachi, and it was originally planned to be a direct-to-dvd film. For some reason, however, this little film made on a budget of only $7,000 was able to impress enough individuals for it to be released theatrically throughout the States. To sum it up, Robert Rodriguez's story is pretty much an indie filmmaker's dream, as Rodriguez would later go on to direct several other blockbuster films (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids, etc).

In the film, we follow the titular mariachi, a lone musician in search of work, as he slowly begins to get caught up in the activities of an illegal drug lord. As it turns out, our leading man's description is very similar to that of another man - Azul - who's out to kill the drug lord, Moco. In a tale of action, romance, and gunfights, the mariachi must fight to survive in this city of lawlessness...

Though the film doesn't have too much depth, it's still pretty interesting. The plot unfolds in believable manner, but the characters are forced to take a seat behind the film's plot. They're likable and serve their purpose, but don't come to the film looking for a character study - let alone any real focus on character.

For a film made on such a small budget, the visuals in this movie are pretty impressive. They're not great, let alone that good, but the technique and style Rodriguez uses is remarkable for a man with such little money and experience. With literally only two different lighting tools, water gun props, and a camera with only two different lenses, the film at least proves to its audience - and to indie filmmakers - that a small budget doesn't mean a film can't be pretty good.

The script's pretty good for what it's worth. It definitely doesn't sound like a first-time filmmaker's script, which might've been a big problem for such a small production like this.

Other than what's been stated above, there isn't too much else to say about El Mariachi. It isn't a remarkable film, as it suffers from a bunch of problems, but the overall product is still satisfying. It's worth watching at least once, especially for those interested in getting into filmmaking.

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