La Cucaracha

From the looks of it, screenwriter and costar James McManus based his story and its details on a sizable reading list of novelists: not only Malcolm Lowry and Graham Greene (both cited in the dialogue), but also James M. Cain and probably David Goodis to boot. The story involves a would-be American novelist (Eric Roberts) who finds himself broke and stranded in a Mexican village. He falls in love with a 17-year-old local (newcomer Tara Crespo) he’s never met, and gets hired by another gringo (McManus), who’s working for a local philanthropist (Joaquim de Almeida), to settle a grudge match by killing another wealthy local (Victor Rivers). The dialogue tends to be wordy and pretentious, but the actors are resourceful enough to keep this watchable and the plot has a reasonable number of twists; Jack Perez is the director. (JR)

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