Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Directed by Robert Rodriguez (well-known for his direction of ‘Sin city’), this epic film full of intrigue and action caters well for those of you who enjoy gritty, humorous and action-packed films with a very aesthetically pleasing gang of stars. Based on the story of drug lord Barillo who tries to overthrow the Mexican President, CIA agent Sands (played by Johnny Depp) seeks the help of the best and most wanted man in Mexico, Mariachi (played by Antonio Banderas) who also happens to be the most dainty guitar player which detracts from his ‘tough man’ persona shown throughout most of the film.

Mariachi’s job is to get rid of General Marquez which proves more difficult than initially anticpated as it becomes apparent that Mariachi and Marquez go back a long way leaving them arch enemies. Of course, the friction between Mariachi and Marquez is over a girl, the beautiful and smouldering Salma Hayek who gets killed (along with hers and Mariachi’s small daughter) by Marquez for choosing Mariachi over him in the battle of the best man which of course took place in a traditional dingy Mexican bar many years prior to Mariachi being recruited by Sands. The action and suspension builds with quiet interludes between which set the scene, and the last 3-4 scenes are much a case of who is going to be the last man standing? Does Mariachi get his final revenge on Marquez for killing his wife and daughter? And does the president finally get the protection he needs from Barillo?

When watching a film such as this, you can’t help but notice how many amazing ‘still’ shots (not literally still, but you could pick out several which would sell the film. Choosing the cover for the film muct have been a tough job) there are within the action. The films shows inspiring scenic shots and really hones in on key features of the characters and parts of the atcion which show the audience that it must be significant. Johnny Depp appearing as the seemingly clean-cut CIA agent at the beginning of the film transforms into a mesmerising, yet totally corrupt, ‘bad boy’ and fits in with his fellow men who have a score to settle, Mariachi and Marquez. Brilliant performances from Depp and Banderas who make the film impossible to switch off. With regards to it being a Robert Rodriguez film, it deviates slightly from his more ‘cartoon strip’ inspired work such as ‘Sin City’ and ‘Spy Kids’, yet it is still equally as imaginative and inspiring.

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