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‘Strange Way of Life’ Review: Pedro Almodóvar’s Fashion Short Reduces Its Gay Cowboys to a Couple of Clothes Horses

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Peter Debruge Chief Film Critic Every time two cowboys point their guns at one another on screen, there’s something homoerotic at play.

Hollywood Westerns may be loath to admit as much, but not so Pedro Almodóvar, who casts Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal as lonesome cowboys reunited after 25 years in “Strange Way of Life.” Commissioned by Saint Laurent Productions (which is also premiering a Jean-Luc Godard short at Cannes), this half-baked half-hour serves as a sexy showcase for creative director Anthony Vaccarello’s latest designs, while barely delivering on the promise that an Almodóvar-made “gay cowboy” movie conjures in the imagination.

At the Cannes premiere, the Spanish director described “Strange” as his response to a question posed by “Brokeback Mountain”: What can two men do on a ranch?

Silva (Pascal) gives Jake (Hawke) his answer in the final seconds of the short, and it’s sweet, though it turns out Almodóvar is misremembering Ang Lee’s 2005 Western.

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