I’m not the biggest fan of short films. With shorts, so much story is condensed into such a small amount of time that a lot of dialogue is exposition, you’re jumping into the deep end of the pool before you really know who’s who, what’s what and why we’ve been planted in this part of the story. But, when the short is written and directed by Pedro Almodovar and stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal, exceptions are made.
Strange Way of Life follows two gunmen, Hawke and Pascal, former friends and lovers who reunite after several years apart. We first see Silva (Pascal) in this fantastic looking green jacket as he’s mounted on a horse, traveling through the desert on his way to Bitter Creek. He’s coming to town looking for his old friend, Sheriff Jake (Hawke) and when they meet up, we can quickly tell the two have a past together. Soon, secrets come out as we learn that Silva’s son is wanted for murdering Sheriff Jake’s sister-in-law.
The actors, again, have to say a lot of exposition to get the backstory to the audience and help us understand the backstory, which just makes it feel a bit melodramatic. They have to squeeze in a lot and if it were in the hands of another pair of actors, it would honestly sound hokey and like a soap opera. But with Pascal and Hawke, they make it sound completely natural.
I won’t tell you what happens in the final part of the film, but it’s works really well and you will not see it coming. I just wish the sum were as good as the (final) parts.