Friday, May 16, 2014

Robert Duvall Goes on a Spree in ‘A Night in Old Mexico’

Robert Duvall won his Oscar for his finely calibrated portrayal of a recovering alcoholic country singer in “Tender Mercies,” and much of his best work is in service to nuanced roles. Yet his most memorable performances also include some where he goes big, as in, for example, the napalm-loving Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now.” When he has fun, he lets us in on it. Mr. Duvall has fun in “A Night in Old Mexico” as Red Bovie, the latest in a series of ranchers he’s played in recent years. Red’s an ornery cuss who’s lost his South Texas spread to the banks. Just as he’s about to end it all, there’s a knock on the barn door from Gally (Jeremy Irvine), a grandson he’s never met. They have barely exchanged howdies when Red, who is being forced to leave his homestead, impulsively takes off in his Caddy for good times across the border, Gally reluctantly riding shotgun. Written by Bill Wittliff, who first worked with Mr. Duvall on the “Lonesome Dove” mini-series, the script is not shy about borrowing from other modern westerns. Arriving in a border town, Red and Gally dance and drink tequila, vie for a beautiful señorita and stumble onto a backpack filled with drug money that many professional killers want back. Red spends the rest of the movie trying to prove that, dammit, this is still country for one old man. As Mr. Duvall paints his portrait of the none-too-cuddly Red in broad brush strokes, Mr. Irvine and the others have a hard time keeping up. Still, the director Emilio Aragón wisely trains the camera on Mr. Duvall. “A Night in Old Mexico” is his baby, and he rocks it.  Source

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