ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  gore verbinski

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  123 minutes

RELEASED  -  2 march 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  dreamworks

OFFICIAL SITE  -  the mexican

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $38,000,000
the mexican - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the mexican at

buy the dvd from the mexican at

a man tries to transport an ancient gun called the mexican, believed to carry a curse, back across the border, while his girlfriend pressures him to give up his criminal ways.

this movie took about 3 months to shoot.


picture from the mexican

picture from the mexican

picture from the mexican


two out of four possible stars

Entertaining, but in no way revolutionary, the The Mexican starts out kind of annoying but gets better once Julia Roberts takes a back seat to the main action. I can't ever remember being especially annoyed with any of Julia's performances, but I must say, when she wasn't on the screen (or speaking) in this film, it was sometimes enjoyable. Mainly because of a good supporting cast. Neither Roberts nor Brad Pitt, her co-star, shine too terribly bright in the Mexican sun with their performances.

In fact, they both play characters against type (well, not for Brad Pitt, he's insane anyway) and I'm not convinced that either of them really got ahold of their characters fully for this film. They just kind of complain the whole time to one another and the other people they're stuck around. I can't really think of a time when I've been so annoyed by an actor or actress. There's just no reason for Julia Roberts to have such an irritating set of qualities in this film. A harsh voice, almost violent hand gestures, and a head of hair that looks like she passed too close to a light socket.

I'm sure that Julia could have presented her character in some way so that I didn't cringe every time a word came out of her mouth. Perhaps the calming influence of James Gandolfini, who obviously steals the show in this flick, makes me hold not so hostile an attitude against this picture. Playing a very complex character, Gandolfini has that rare ability to become a very menacing character or someone you'd like to have over for dinner. He has displayed this trait for a couple years now on the sopranos series on HBO, but whenever he's on the screen in this movie, it's really great to see how his character reacts to things around him.

But let me not drag on about James for the entire review. There are plenty of other things to talk about. Or write about. First off, I find that Gandolfini is not the only supporting character in this film who deserves more than a passing glance in the credits. Richard Coca plays the hilarious role of a Mexican car thief who takes off with Brad Pitt's car. Pitt eventually gets his car back and the two have some very entertaining exchanges. Coca plays one of several roles whose appearance in the film makes the whole story somewhat more entertaining.

Although Brad and Julia have parts in just about every scene of the movie, I have to say that it was the actors around them that were the best part of the film. And in other news, the people who created the look for this picture seemed to put a lot of thought into making it look as though it didn't take a lot of thought. Kind of backwards, but I think it works. The whole film has a sort of documentary feel to it. And there are three or so sequences that take place in the 1800's in mexico that are all in that sepia type color that reminds me of a silent film from the era.

These short pieces within the movie are three different versions of the same story: why the handgun, that Brad Pitt must acquire, is cursed. And the three versions really are humorous. They all have a sense of comedy about them, while keeping a somewhat somber attitude at the same time. Now, aside from some good supporting roles and a little fun with the camera, I have to say that the over-all tone of this film is somewhat different than I thought it was going to be. Somehow, I figured that there would be more comedy than there was.

Now, this isn't such a bad thing, but the film had a more somber attitude than was advertised. It's quite a violent film in parts. All in all though it seems to fit very well with the style of the cinematography used. It's kind of like the film was dropped in the sand before being projected. So when you see this film, be prepared for something that's not quite Julia, a little weirder than normal, and a fun twist on the normal "let's put two big name actors in a film because their names above the title will draw ticket buyers to the box office" standard of Hollywood films. Because Pitt and Roberts just are really too annoying to be enjoyed in this film, I deduct two stars for the lack of chemistry. But because the supporting cast and the story and cinematography are fun, I leave two stars for them.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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