El Mariachi Reviews

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R. L. Shaffer
January 16, 2011

Despite its age, El Mariachi holds up remarkably well. The film's low budget (roughly $7,000, allegedly) actually helps build tension in the narrative - like you're watching something that's really happening.

Full Review | Original Score: 8/10
Todd McCarthy
Top Critic
November 12, 2008

Has a verve and cheekiness that's partly a smart wedding of such influences as Sergio Leone, George Miller and south-of-the-border noir.

TV Guide's Movie Guide
March 13, 2007

The unrelenting tempo is bolstered by Rodriguez's camera work and editing: nearly every frame seems to have been shot with a careening, handheld camera, and they're cut together in a skillful, fluid fashion that enhances the tension and pace.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
March 13, 2007

Juicy, adroit, and likable.

Emanuel Levy
June 26, 2006

No festival is true to its name if it doesn't display at least one discovery. In 1992 that spot was occupied by Robert Rodriguez, who made a charming actioner for $7,500; never mind that Columbia later invested $1 million for its theatrical release.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
Top Critic
January 26, 2006

Rodriguez goes for broke with a breakneck pace, swarms of bullets, cinematic tricks, and a tone as playful as it is knowing of genre conventions. The director's light touch is all his own; and this unpretentious offering delivers in all departments.

Cole Smithey
November 1, 2005

| Original Score: 3/5
Rob Thomas
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
July 8, 2005

An endlessly inventive and charming zero-budget action movie.

| Original Score: 4/5
Widgett Walls
July 20, 2004

Brilliant low-budget filmmaking. Better than most action films with ten times the budget.

| Original Score: 4/5
Brian Mckay
February 21, 2004

Nowhere near as extravagant as its succesors, yet it remains a constant simple pleasure, best enjoyed with a shot of Patron and a cold Corona

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Bill Chambers
Film Freak Central
August 9, 2003

Has tons more charm than its star-studded, big-budget reprise, Desperado.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Kevin N. Laforest
Montreal Film Journal
June 2, 2003

| Original Score: 3/5
Janet Maslin
New York Times
Top Critic
May 20, 2003

It goes without saying that Mr. Rodriguez, having made such a clever and inventive debut, is prepared for a big future of his own.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Jeffrey Westhoff
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
March 27, 2003

| Original Score: 3/5
Brian J. Arthurs
Beach Reporter (Southern California)
October 18, 2002

| Original Score: 4/5
Dragan Antulov
September 9, 2002

Arguably the most amazing film made in 1990s.

Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Mike McGranaghan
Aisle Seat
August 5, 2002

Low-budget filmmaking at its most clever.

| Original Score: 3/5
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
July 30, 2002

| Original Score: 3/5
Stephen Farber
January 9, 2002

Not exactly a monumental contribution to cinematic art, but it's a lot of fun.

James Berardinelli
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

A gripping, tautly-paced action flick that outdoes most of Hollywood's similar output.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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