September 15, 2003

Once Upon A Time

Cinecultist knows we promised an end to the mindless violence and the sexual objectification that we watched on the big screen, anyway but as Reuters points out, Once Upon A Time in Mexico is a transitional movie. Transitional, really. Moving from the explosion filled actioners of summer into the more serious Oscar-worthy season. (*ahem, insert not-really-buying-our-own-hype cough here) This argument hinges on the assertion that Robert Rodriguez is an auteur, a director constructing his artistic expression despite his sometimes bordering on schlocky subject matter.

Rodriguez certainly tries to convey this one-man-controls-all image on the credits of his new movie as he's billed as shooting, chopping, scoring, writing and directing. [Worth a read if you're interested in Rodriguez as an auteur arising from nothing, his book Rebel Without a Crew about the making of El Mariachi.] While CC enjoyed the experience of analyzing the movie while watching it, noticing shots and sequences reworked from his previous two films El Mariachi and Desperado, we didn't think it was a good movie. The story gets a little overly plot-y and overwhelmed by the number of secondary characters scheming murder and political upheaval around the heart o' gold revenging Mariachi towards the end of the picture. And CC was disappointed by Salma Hayek's lack of agency in the plot, as the object over which "El" wants revenge, her billing might as well be starring Salma Hayek's midriff. But hey, if you want to call such things art (to get your significant others into the theater with you), Cinecultist ain't going to put up a fight. Also in Once Upon A Time's favor, no cameo by Quentin that has to be worth something.

Posted by karen at September 15, 2003 8:01 AM