6.3/10
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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

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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

Country:

Language:

|

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)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James McManus' initial plan for the story was based on the idea of a man in a wheelchair rolling down a hill with guns blazing, akin to John Wayne in True Grit (1969). See more »

Soundtracks

Las Golondrinas
Traditional Ethnic Source Music Arranged and Produced by Fred Herrera
Performed by Los Trovadores
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User Reviews

 
Terrific indie
13 September 2016 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

La Cucaracha means cockroach in Spanish (duh), which is somewhat of an ironic and sad reference to the main character of this exquisite little indie character study, a damaged man named Walter Pool (Eric Roberts). Walter is a writer drowning in alcoholism as he spend his days hiding out in a Mexican shanty town. Wallowing in self despair, he's the perfect protagonist just waiting for an inciting incident, and as we all know, rural Mexico is a breeding ground for trouble of all sorts to spur on a good campfire tale. While on a bender in town, Walter is approached by a shady American lawyer (James McManus) and offered a job with malicious implications involving the son of local Mexican mobster Jose Guerra (Joaquim De Almeida). He takes the task, but nothing is what it seems and he realizes he's been set up, lied to and left for dead. Used to being a write off, something snaps in him and he fires up with a need to know the truth about Guerra and his family. He'll wish he never bothered, because the truth is disturbing and not at all what you'd expect from this kind of tequila soaked, south of the border intrigue. There's very little action, gunplay or usual thriller tropes, and pretty much all the narrative is left to the actors and the writing, making it very unique amongst this type of fare. This is essential for any Roberts fan, he's not doing one of his extended cameos or winking supporting jaunts here. He's front and center the entire time and owns it with vulnerability and resilience, especially in a curiously sad monologue that goes into his past and let's us see some of what has led him to his unique, end of the road situation. Almeida once again plays a Latin criminal, but unlike most of the other times, he's given something to do here besides wave a gun around and be the villain. He's treated intimately by the script, giving Guerra a personality, secrets and a haunted soul of his own. The scenes later in the third act between him and Roberts crackle with charisma and potency. The cover of the DVD for this shows a gunslinger type guy brandishing two pistols. Ignore that fully. Nowhere in this film is there anything that can be branded as an action flick. It's all about character, good and bad deeds, redemption, evil and choices we make. An astonishing little story that's been seen by almost no one up til now, deserving of far more accolades.


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