A Night in Old Mexico
Starring Robert Duvall, Jeremy Irvine, Angie Cepeda
At 83 years old, Oscar winner Robert DuVall is still going strong and giving the fans that have watched him for years exactly what they want. “It’s a sweet movie,” DuVall told me at the SXSW premiere. A Night in Old Mexico isn’t technically a western, but it serves up the same predictable elements you expect to find. DuVall, like in his last few films, plays a curmudgeon old man with salty language and a strong moral compass. At times you look at this film and it’s nothing more than a vehicle for DuVall to be DuVall on screen; he’s running around with a gun, questioning God (then thanking him moments later), and chasing women half his age. This is a film for the steak eaters.
Red (DuVall) is being run off his own land by the bank. Before he leaves his ranch that he has worked on his whole life, the elderly, spry Texan takes his pistol in the barn as the movers pack his house and prepares to give up. His grandson (Irvine), who he has never met, arrives outside desperate to understand and meet the grandfather he has never known. Instead of moving into a trailer park, Red and Gally head down across the border for some fun. They meet Patty Waffers (Cepeda), who is looking for a scenery change from the endless nights of her topless employment, and the threesome manage to stir up all kinds of trouble when they find a sack of cash in their backseat.
The premise of the film feels like a movie you might catch on a lazy Sunday afternoon on television.
If you are looking for creative, intelligent and unique filmmaking, you won’t find that here. Director Emilio Aragon and actress Cepeda spoke about the excitement of working with a legend like DuVall, and that seems to be the only reason we are talking about this film. The premise of the film feels like a movie you might catch on a lazy Sunday afternoon on television. The script has chases, shootouts, stolen money and showgirls all set around the border. The meaning of the film does have a sweet nature about second chances as DuVall described to me on the red carpet, but anyone under the age of 60 might not find the themes here very appealing.
The script plays everything safe and poor Irving (War Horse) doesn’t have the acting ability to work next to DuVall. Let’s face it, this film, besides the language, should be on TV and not in theaters. It’s wonderful to see DuVall still working, but at what cost to his career or work? This is not what he should be remembered for. The lessons learned here regarding family and forgiveness can be found elsewhere from a much stronger delivery method.
Too pure for its own good.