6.4/10
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13 user 10 critic

La Cucaracha (1998)

A desperate writer fights for survival when the Mexican mob involves him in murder.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Herberto Ortega
James McManus ...
Louis Graves
Tara Crespo ...
Lourdes Aguirre
...
Orderly
Enrique Rinaldo ...
Manuel
...
Woman Patient
...
Hotel Proprietor
...
Louis' Wife (as Felicia Khoja)
Armando José Durán ...
Federale (as Armando Jose Duran)
...
Fruit Vendor (as Alejandro Patino)
Fred Herrera ...
Los Trovadores Mariachi Band Member
Felipe De La Rosa ...
Los Trovadores Mariachi Band Member
Anselmo Rivera ...
Los Trovadores Mariachi Band Member
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Storyline

Walter has problems. He's an American who's recently moved to a small Mexican village where he wants to live and write, but he barely knows the language and has no money. He wants to write but has no idea how to do this and he has nothing in the US to go back to. He spends his nights in a broke down abandoned shed by the lake trying to write and he spends his days in a local tavern drinking local beer he can't afford and receiving some food on the account of the barkeeper's pity. He's truly a lost man waiting for something to happen and save him. That's when a shady man who writes epitaphs for the recently departed introduces himself. He wants Walter to do a job for him. A powerful local man committed a grave crime against his boss, a powerful shady local businessman, and he needs to die. Walter is offered 100 000 US dollars to be the triggerman. After some consideration, Walter accepts the offer, since they'll kill him if he doesn't, now that he knows their illegal plan. Besides, ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

To live the life he's always dreamed of he'll have to do the unthinkable. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

23 April 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Botcsinálta bérgyilkos  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$14,692 (USA) (23 April 1999)

Gross:

$32,142 (USA) (28 May 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shooting schedule was 18 days, and the budget barely allowed for scenes to be re-shot; for the festival scene, there were only enough fireworks for two takes. See more »

Soundtracks

La Rumba
Composed by Francisco Gonzales
Courtesy of Killer Tracks
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User Reviews

Not-so-innocent abroad
22 October 2000 | by See all my reviews



Hoping to flee a life of all-American banality, Walter Pool (Eric Roberts)begins anew in Mexico with the aim of writing a novel. He only succeeds in becoming an alcoholic loner, as he lacks the drive and verbal polish to become a writer. His routinized escape from routine does take on a new twist when he becomes involved with shady characters who do have drive (a willingness to deceive and kill to meet their ends), and verbal polish (speaking in over-the-top purple prose to justify their crimes.)

*La Cucaracha* unveils the hollowness of cultivated words and calculated appearances (e.g. the crime king in Armani suits speaks of the ennobling power of suffering, sheds copious tears and makes spectacular shows of philanthropy); however, actions ultimately reveal character. As Pool, Eric Roberts succeeds in playing a man whose verbal inarticulateness painfully reflects his moral inarticulateness. Even though he can't find his writer's voice, does he still have a voice of conscience? Does he have the will to transform his life through action, whether corrupt or heroic? Not since *Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia* have I seen the "loser in search of redemption in a tragic, corrupt world" theme played so well.

Although Eric Roberts' acting is superb (especially the scene in which he finally meets and breaks down before the woman he had so idolized), *La Cucaracha* is definitely not for everyone. There is no morally unambiguous hero, and the violence is somewhat heavy, though not mindless--the consequences of violence are frequently the subject of deliberation and remorse. Some might find the dialogue a bit stilted, although it might be more fairly compared to older noir films rather than the quick, punchy dialogue in a lot of recent crime films. If you like noir, character studies of ex-pat drifters, *and* Eric Roberts (his *Coca-Cola Kid*/*Star 80* caliber performances, as opposed to the *Best of the Best Series*), then this could well be for you.


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