Ok, I admit it…I watched this movie purely out of curiosity. I mean really…Clint Eastwood’s son is playing the main character (Jackson) in a Spaghetti Western. You would watch it too. You know you would…who wouldn’t be tempted to compare the two? Clint Eastwood is the quintessential western outlaw…it takes some cojones for his son to step into a similar role. You just know he knew people would be drawing comparisons.
So, to the movie we go! Diablo begins with a bang as Jackson (a Civil War vet) has his wife kidnapped and his home set ablaze, losing absolutely everything he has but his horse and saddle in mere minutes. A pretty simple plot really. Man goes after the bad guys to save the woman he loves. One would think that should set the tone for this movie really well, sadly it doesn’t; this film loses momentum very quickly and that’s where I have a problem with this particular film.
I can’t blame Scott Eastwood for that either, his performance really was pretty decent. He definitely inherited the Eastwood stare from his father and I couldn’t help noticing a few other Eastwood traits. In fact, there are many times at different angles you would swear you were looking at or hearing his father, not sure if that’s really good or bad for Scott since his dad left some big shoes to fill…but he does still stand on his own here. No, the lack of energy and momentum is not his fault, I blame the director.
An audience doesn’t require constant action in a movie, that can be exhausting, but to have scene after scene with no interaction with anyone, no dialogue at all? That sends a movie plunging off a cliff when it comes to momentum. I realize what the director was going for but honestly I nearly turned the movie off. We get it, it’s just him…he’s riding around trying to track down his wife and the men who took her…zzzzzzzzz, at least talk to your horse dude! Fortunately when Jackson finally does catch up with the kidnappers things begin to pick up again. Lets just say his wife was far from happy to see him. Not exactly the reaction one would expect from a damsel in distress now is it?
The saving grace to this movie for me is the twist, you really don’t see it coming at all! Now, that…for me, is a rare thing. I am usually able to predict what’s coming miles off, not this time! This one wound up for a windmill and sucker-punched me! That won this movie points in a big way taking it from a 1 star to a 3. That and the fact that Walton Goggins (Justified, Django Unchained) also brings his uniquely verbose charm to the film as well as Ezra (the cold, calculating killer with very little conscience…ok, he has just a smidge of one, but barely.)
The twist is really what makes this movie worth watching, that moment of understanding as you see what’s really going on? Now that is something I will give the director props on…that was done brilliantly. The ending however was a bit confusing. Did they leave it open for a Diablo 2? Who died? Did anyone die? What the hell happened?! You hear a gunshot and it just…..ends. You are left with a black screen with “DIABLO” in big red letters leaving me thinking, “well that was weird.”
Watch the movie, there are definitely moments that make it worthwhile but go in knowing it will drag for awhile…then let me know what you think. I’d be interested to hear your opinions about it too.