SXSW 2014: “A Night in Old Mexico” – Review by Mark Krawczyk

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A Night In Old Mexico tells the story of Red Bovie, an old rancher who loses his land and is told that he will have to live in a trailer park because that is all he can afford.   Instead, Red chooses to head to Mexico with his grandson Gally,  the son of his estranged son Jimmy, for one more wild night of drinking and dancing in old Mexico.  The two meet Patty, a Mexican singer, and the trio stumble into the business of some unpleasant individuals, leading to a night that none of them will forget.

The character of Red Bovie was brilliantly played by Robert Duvall.  It is easy to feel sorry for the old rancher.  His character is old, ornery, and rude. At the same time, you can tell that he has a soft spot and you can’t help but love him. Duvall really sells this character and his performance helps carry the film.  Patty (Angie Cepeda) is a sympathetic character whose plans have not gone the way she wanted them to go.    I enjoyed Angie’s performance and her character was a nice compliment to Red. The scenes they have are very touching.  Though there is a major age difference, you can feel sparks between them.

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The one character I had a hard time with was Gally.   I am not sure if it was the performance of Jeremy Irvine or the way the character was written, but I just didn’t feel connected to him. Gally has the most growth by the end of the film but I felt he was one of the weaker characters of the movie.  The ‘bad guys’ are your more stereotypical type.   They are not meant to be the main focus, just the catalyst for the main character’s wild night.

Director Emilio Aragón does a great job capturing the culture in Mexico and makes you feel like you are right there with Red. The wild-night-gone-awry story has been done before but Emilio still manages to keep it entertaining.   The plot flows well , with a couple of twists thrown in that help keep it from being predictable.   He does an excellent job of setting up the motivation of the characters as well. You understand why Red is the way he is and Gally’s need to try and connect with him. There are a few violent moments that may disturb some viewers but they are quick and do not take away from the lighter feeling of the movie. Duvall’s performance does take center stage and that alone makes this movie worth seeing.  While it is not an original film, it has heart and takes you on a fun ride with an old cowboy who shows you should never let your age define you.  3 out of 5 stubs.

About the Author:  Mark Krawczyk has been reviewing films since 1993. He is the host of WeLiveFilm.com’s Horror Thursdays and has his own movie review show on his channel that you can catch here www.youtube.com/SpecialMark  and on twitter @moviemaniac3d

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