Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Diablo (2016) review

Diablo (2016)

Dir. Lawrence Roeck
Starring: Scott Eastwood, Walton Goggins, Danny Glover, Camilla Belle

Former soldier Jackson (Eastwood) sets off to find a gang of Mexicans that kidnapped his wife Alexsandra (Belle) and set fire to his home.

This is something that I kind of stumbled upon. It kind of surprised me to see a western staring Scott Eastwood, but it makes sense for someone to put him in this genre, especially after his father had such success throughout his career. Add in a good supporting cast and some great talent behind the camera, this was something that I was pretty eager to check out. Unfortunately, this most isn’t that great. The best thing about the movie is the cinematography. The movie was shot by Dean Cundey, and it looks great. It’s kind of a shame that the rest of the movie doesn’t live up to the look of it. The movie follows Jackson was he tracks the gang, which basically is Eastwood silently moving through scenes, occasionally is coming across random people and the evil Ezra (Goggins). Scenes drag a bit and the movie feels inert, and the movie feels like it takes forever to watch, but it only has an 83 minute runtime.

It’s hard to judge Scott Eastwood without comparing him to his father, which isn’t really fair to him. In this film he spends most of the movie being a blank slate, and he only really gets to show any kind of range near the end of the film. His work in most of the film seems rough and like he still has a bit to learn about acting. And maybe as he gets older his screen presence will improve. Not that he’s bad, he’s just not given much to do other than to be a blank. The worst thing about his performance is that he shares scenes with Walton Goggins. Goggins is having fun, chewing scenery and giving the first 2/3s of the movie brief bits of energy, but it isn’t enough to make the film but feel like a drag. And then there’s Danny Glover, who in a bit part fleshes out some of the backstory of Jackson. He’s good and it made me a little disappointed that he isn’t in more recent films.

Spoilers: (highlight to read) The third act reveals that Jackson and Ezra are the same person. While this isn’t something that hasn’t been done before, after the reveal, you get to see Eastwood actually act, and the last twenty minutes focusing on his attack of the “gang” that took his “wife” feels vital and full of energy that the rest of the movie is lacking. But the problem is the massive slog that is the first hour of the film.

Honestly the movie isn’t that good. It looks great, but it feels like a story is being stretched to fit a feature length runtime. If it was a little shorter it would have been a great episode of an anthology series. It’s got some good ideas, but it fails in the execution. It would be interesting if in few years, and after he grows as an actor, if Scott Eastwood made another western, just to see if the results are better. But as it is Diablo is hard to recommend. But it's not as bad as Revenge of the Virgins.

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