Dir Tom Gustafson USA 107 mins
starring Shawn Ashmore, Martha Higareda, Kate Burton
Bookings for 1 or more days. £100 vs 35%
DVD screeners or web-links available.
From David DeWitt, New York Times
“A confused and handsome, blond and blue-eyed Kansan escapes to Mexico to play mariachi, discovering himself while an outsider in a foreign land. Standard fish-out-of-water tale, made for life lessons, a few high jinks and funny stuff, right? Not this film.
The director, Tom Gustafson, and the writer, Cory Krueckeberg, take their story seriously, and the respectful early scenes, set in a static, washed-out Kansas, have an appropriately slow awkwardness that they let drift into flatness and tedium. But once the protagonist, Ed (a committed, brow-furrowed Shawn Ashmore), makes the break for Mexico, it’s like Dorothy leaving Tornado Alley for Oz.
Mexico, Guadalajara in particular, is the film’s real star: warm, diverse and, thanks mostly to all the food on screen, sensual. Ed puzzles out his life there in ways that a lighter version of this concept would have sketched past, and his quest imbues “Mariachi Gringo” with an everyday authenticity. Most colorful is Ed’s relationship with a restaurateur, Lilia (Martha Higareda, fresh with spontaneity, surprise and depth), and their bond doesn’t go in easy-to-anticipate directions. ¡Hurra! to that.
As the moving concluding scenes cement, “Mariachi Gringo” is right on pitch — and, happily, not simply as you’d expect.”Follow @ReelSolutions