Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.
Week 104: Diablo
I have been curious about this Eastwood Western, wondering how Scott measures up to the early work his father did in the genre. The answer is that he shows promise though this first effort is a flawed one.
Diablo begins well, wasting no time as a house burns down and our hero sets out on a quest to find his kidnapped wife. It moves along with a simplicity common to the 50s Westerns and I found that quite refreshing. When Goggins enters the picture, it starts to show cracks. Though I like this character actor as most do, I find his performances to be repetitive. This got me thinking about typecasting. Yes, it is good to know your type and play it. But the key is to bring something new to every role, however similar they might be. Example: no Slim Pickens or Jack Elam role ever feels repetitive. However, Goggins here seems to just be treading on old ground. I hope he breaks that habit in any future Westerns.
Back to the film, it stays good until the final showdown. Much criticized by those damn critics, I like the psychological spin/twist the film takes but the macho-shoot ’em up finale is a bore. Ultimately, Scott Eastwood’s first Western falls into the same trap that his father’s often did, becoming too much of a Rambo-style action romp instead of holding on to its integrity as a traditional Western. It’s too bad because there is a lot of good here and as I said before, it shows Eastwood could be a good Western lead.
Watched on Tubi.