Ethan Hawke & Pedro Pascal’s ‘Strange Way of Life’ Intoxicates Critics

On Wednesday, Pedro Almodóvar’s queer Western short film ‘Strange Way of Life’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and it left the viewers stunned, intoxicated and wanting more, to say the least.

(c) Instagram: @ethanhawke

Director Almodóvar, Ethan Hawke, Manu Rios, and the other cast of the short were present at the prestigious event, but Pedro Pascal was not in attendance because he is reportedly going into production for Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator 2.’


According to Variety, ‘Strange Way of Life’ “tells the story of Silva (Pascal), who rides a horse across the desert to visit his friend Jake (Hawke), who is a sheriff. What follows is a story of vengeance, intrigue and forbidden love.”

Prior to the queer Western’s premiere, Almodóvar noted in an interview with IndieWire that “the film is full of these moments that are erotic without being explicit sexually or having to do with any kind of physical nakedness.”

“There’s a certain intensity, these pauses, that are very erotic and carnal for me,” the 73-year-old Spanish filmmaker added.

(c) Instagram: @pascalispunk

Meanwhile, Pascal stated:

“I don’t imagine sexual chemistry as something to approach. It’s simply a matter of playing the character. Pedro put his trust in us to inhabit the story as he felt so much of the work was accomplished by casting.”

“I think there’s a disarming and playful sexiness to everything Pedro does,” the 48-year-old ‘The Last of Us’ actor further expressed.

‘Strange Way of Life’ may not be graphic, but there is, however, a fleeting shot of Pascal’s butt… Not to mention, IndieWire noted that “the men share a series of tender moments, physical and otherwise, that demand a degree of commitment given Almodovar’s fixation on the rehearsal process.”

(c) Instagram: @ilgrillo_cinematografico

Moreover, the costumes in the film were done entirely by Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello, so that’s another thing to look forward to in the queer Western. And as for what the critics think, The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney wrote:

“The story, written by Almodóvar, is bare bones but satisfying, even if it leaves you craving an expanded treatment…

Aside from one of the melancholy plot strands in the superlative Pain and Glory, it’s been years since Almodóvar made a straight-up gay male love story, a defiant statement of passion that will not be contained. Not to mention a movie of such ripe sensuality — even Jake’s deputy is a dreamboat desk jockey. For that reason alone, queer audiences especially — but not exclusively — should celebrate this precious gift from one of the undisputed greats.”

Meanwhile, Pete Hammond of Deadline expressed:


“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.”

IndieWire‘s David Ehrlich also stated that ‘Strange Way of Life’ “leaves you wanting more.”

“Even knowing that the film is only 30 minutes long with credits, its ending still feels unexpectedly abrupt, as Almodóvar leaves us at the precise moment he’s been seeing in his head for the last 20 years. Like everything else about this project, it’s a bit of a cock-tease, but now that it finally exists, there’s no telling what might happen next,” Ehrlich wrote.

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