Violent, empty revenge Western has little point.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Diablo is a Western starring Clint Eastwood's son Scott. It's essentially a revenge story, with lots of killing and blood and nothing really learned. Many characters are shot, with bloody wounds. Bullets are dug out of flesh, a woman is kidnapped, a house is set on fire, and a horse dies. In a hallucination sequence, a gory "zombie" is shown. Language is sparse but includes one (and possibly a second) use of "f--k," as well as "goddamn" and "hell." Characters sometimes smoke and drink whiskey, and in one sequence, a character hallucinates after being given peyote. This isn't hardly a prime example of a worthy Western, but teens who are interested in the genre (or the star) may be intrigued anyway.
PG-13: western violence and some intense brawls throughout/language
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What's the Story?
Some years after the Civil War, a veteran soldier called Jackson (Scott Eastwood) discovers that his house has been burned to the ground and his wife taken. He mounts his horse and heads into the hills after her, where he encounters a wounded gunman (Joaquim de Almeida), a helpful American Indian (Adam Beach) who patches up a wound, and an old colleague (Danny Glover). Jackson also meets a sinister gunslinger, Ezra (Walton Goggins), who always seems to be on his trail. But Jackson gets a surprise when he finally catches up to the missing woman (Camilla Belle) -- and it becomes clear just why Jackson is also known as "Diablo."
Is It Any Good?
It's impossible not to think of Clint Eastwood in his great Westerns when watching his youngest son, Scott, in this poor one, and the comparison isn't favorable. Both the movie and its star seem empty. The young Eastwood looks a little like his legendary father, but he lacks any kind of edge, history, or character -- the best he can manage is holstering his guns with a little flourish -- and he doesn't seem particularly smart or brave.
Following Jackson through the story, especially after its disappointing "twist," leaves viewers with little to care about. His quest, and all the killings, become ultimately pointless. Moreover, Eastwood is continually upstaged by his far more charismatic co-stars, each of whom only appears for a few minutes, especially de Almeida, Beach, Glovery, and Goggins (who's also in The Hateful Eight). It's too bad this cast was wasted on such a poor movie.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Diablo's violence. How did it affect you? What purpose does it serve? Could the movie have succeeded with less violence? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Why do you think the characters drink and smoke? Is either glamorized? Is there something about the Western setting that normalizes drinking and smoking?
How does the movie change after the "twist"? Does the character become more or less likable? More or less understandable?
What's the appeal of the Western genre? Why was it once more popular than it is now? Is it still worth it to make new Westerns?
- In theaters: January 8, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: February 23, 2016
- Cast: Scott Eastwood, Danny Glover, Walton Goggins
- Director: Lawrence Roeck
- Studios: Orion, Momentum Pictures
- Genre: Western
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence and brief language
- Last updated: January 13, 2023
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