The first reactions for Strange Way of Life, Pedro Almodóvar's queer Western starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke, are here.
The short film, which premiered this week at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, sees Hawke play a sheriff named Jake while Pascal is a gunslinger called Silva. The pair live on opposite sides of the desert and haven't seen each other for 25 years – when they both worked as hired gunmen. In the 30-minute English-language film, Silva rides a horse across a desert to Bitter Creek to visit Sheriff Jake. Silva tells him that he's there to rekindle their friendship, but Jake knows it's something much more.
"STRANGE WAY OF LIFE is the melodramatic, quarreling lovers Western you’ve always wanted. Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal are great together as their characters find each other after several years and go through a turbulent few hours. I so wish this was a feature-length film!" said USA Today reporter Ema Sasic.
"Almodóvar’s 30-minute “Strange Way of Life” isn’t worth waiting an hour in the rain to see, but Ethan Hawke is the perfect vessel for a Wild West “Pain and Glory” – the rare American actor zoned in on this specific wavelength of conflicted rage and quiet longing," tweeted Siddhant Adlakha.
"Hawke and Pascal are so good you easily could see both of them could have been hired for a slew of Westerns in the ’50s and ’60s...Almodóvar isn’t setting out to rewrite the rules of Westerns with this film, but he is adding a new chapter that somehow feels just right, due in no small part to his two leads."
"Tantalizing to watch despite boasting all the staying power of a stray tumbleweed, this chatty little Western reflects on the repressiveness of its genre while mining a rich vein of conflict from the mutual acrimony shared by its two lead characters, who once dreamed of a life together, only to let that dream slip through their fingers because they lacked the ability to imagine it made flesh. There was no model for them to follow – no signpost toward that particular corner of the American frontier."
"I can imagine Strange Way of Life being enlarged into a full-length feature but that might well dilute the impact of these variously tense and poignant scenes between the two men. There is some very robust and old-fashioned storytelling here and Strange Way of Life feels quite old-fashioned in its way. It’s certainly good to see Almodóvar back in the saddle at Cannes."
"With more characters and a thorough overhaul of the screenplay, the premise could sustain a full-length film, although the use of models instead of actors betrays what this really is: a branding exercise, both for Almodóvar and costumier Vaccarello, plus two stars eager to show their allyship. But it doesn’t bode especially well for Saint Laurent-backed features in the works from David Cronenberg and Paolo Sorrentino, seeing as how this short reduces its queer cowboys to a couple of clothes horses."
Strange Way of Life does not yet have a theatrical release date. For more, check out our list of all the exciting upcoming movies in 2023 and beyond, or, skip right to the good stuff with our list of movie release dates.