Nicotina

Though PULP FICTION is the obvious point of reference, but this hugely entertaining Mexican crime comedy is actually closer in spirit to GO, Doug Lyman's underrated 1998 lark. Three tangentially related stories ricochet off one another over the course of one very long — and very bloody — night in Mexico City. The evening's events are triggered...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Though PULP FICTION is the obvious point of reference, but this hugely entertaining Mexican crime comedy is actually closer in spirit to GO, Doug Lyman's underrated 1998 lark. Three tangentially related stories ricochet off one another over the course of one very long — and very bloody — night in Mexico City. The evening's events are triggered by 23-year-old Argentine hustler Nene (Lucas Crespi) and his older partner-in-crime, Tomson (Jesus Ochoa), who've commissioned their hacker friend Lolo (Diego Luna) to download top-secret account information from a Swiss Bank on behalf of a Russian client, Svoboda (Norman Sotolongo). Lolo completes the data transfer, but matters are unexpectedly complicated by Lolo's obsession with his beautiful neighbor, Andrea (Marta Lebaustegui), a cellist whose apartment Lolo has outfitted with microphones, phone taps and cameras so he can monitor her every move. Andrea figures out what her neighbor's been up to, and after tussling with Andrea's angry boyfriend (Eugenio Montessoro), Lolo accidentally grabs a disc filled with spy-cam files of Andrea practicing her cello instead of the account information. The Russkies are less than pleased when they discover what they assume is a dirty trick, and when they refuse to fork over the 20 diamonds they promised Svoboda and Nene as payment, gunfire erupts. Svoboda and Nene are wounded, but manage to escape into the night. Nene makes it to a nearby drugstore run by bully Goyo (Rafael Inclan) and his wife, Clara (Carmen Madrid). Fed up with her terrible marriage to an irritable jerk, she agrees to help Nene. Svoboda, meanwhile, winds up at the shop of his impoverished barber, Goyo (Rafael Inclan), and his hard, bitter wife, Carmen (Rosa Maria Bianchi). Carmen overhears Svoboda discussing the diamonds on his cell phone; she suspects that Svoboda's swallowed them and will stop and nothing — not even evisceration — to get her hands on them. Ghoulish? Absolutely, but Carmen isn't a villain; like Clara, she's simply tired of playing the losing hand she's been dealt. It's that kind of characterization — and Rodriquez's deft handling of what could have been a narrative mess — that makes this clever genre exercise a cut above the rest. Its freshness — together with the burgeoning careers of fellow Mexican directors Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu — suggest that U.S. distributors would do well to explore what's happening in cinemas south of the border a little more often.

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Though PULP FICTION is the obvious point of reference, but this hugely entertaining Mexican crime comedy is actually closer in spirit to GO, Doug Lyman's underrated 1998 lark. Three tangentially related stories ricochet off one another over the course of o… (more)

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