> Volume 6 > Number 32


Hugo Rodríguez

Diego Luna
Jesús Ochoa
Lucas Crespi
Norman Sotolongo
Marta Beláustegui
Rafael Inclán
Rosa Mariá Bianchi
Carmen Madrid
Daniel Giménez Cacho

Release: 20 Aug. 04



The ubiquitous Diego Luna (last seen in The Terminal, next in Criminal) plays a Mexican hacker who spends more time peeping on his next-door neighbor than doing his job. That’s likely the reason that the dominos affect his cashing in on a deal with some Russians for diamonds, a failed trade that involves countless innocent people to die. Here’s a movie that asks the audience to have a good laugh when that nice people die because they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. While pathos can come from such situations (Mystic River, Moonlight Mile), the use of such scenarios for humor comes as a wholly unpleasant experience while watching Nicotina.

Most of the comedy seems like those bad years of Blake Edwards while the style is directly inspired by Guy Ritchie. But even the amateurish fun of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is unattainable for director Hugo Rodriguez, as he tries to tie all his outlandish style into the connecting tissue of people’s innate need for a nic-fix. Despite the occasional moments when the story proper seems ready to unfurl in an interesting way, the film runs off on a tangent with peripheral characters who are likely to either die or kill someone by the conclusion of the film. Their stories could be interesting -- how different would their lives be if these hoods hadn’t momentarily entered their lives -- but what this film misses is that watching them soullessly enact these trajectories isn’t particularly commanding. That’s why Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run told what amounts to half of Nicotina in barely a minute of Polaroids

©2004, David Perry,, 6 August 2004