The verdict is in for Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke’s LGBTQ+ western Strange Way of Life. 

Over the last few months, LGBTQ+ movie enthusiasts have anxiously awaited the release of director Pedro Almodóvar’s “answer to Brokeback Mountain”.

The upcoming short Western stars The Mandalorian and The Last of Us alum Pascal as a gunslinger named Silva, with Hawke stepping into the role of a sheriff named Jake.

The official synopsis reads: “A man rides a horse across the desert that separates him from Bitter Creek. He comes to visit Sheriff Jake. Twenty-five years earlier, both the sheriff and Silva, the rancher who rides out to meet him, worked together as hired gunmen.

“Silva visits him with the excuse of reuniting with his friend from his youth, and they do indeed celebrate their meeting, but the next morning Sheriff Jake tells him that the reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their old friendship…”

On 17 May, the 31-minute project finally debuted at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. 

Fortunately, the months-long hype was well deserved, with many attending critics praising the film on social media.  

USA Today Reporter Ema Sasic described the film as the “melodramatic, quarrelling lovers western you always wanted.” 

“Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal are great together as their characters find each other after several years and go through a turbulent few hours. I so wish this was a feature-length film,” she wrote on Twitter.

Senior Awards editor for Variety echoed similar sentiments, tweeting: “Strange Way Of Life begs for more and a full-length feature version. Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke sizzle in the Spanish western with wonderous colors, gorgeous music and engaging camera work. Pedro Almodóvar can do no wrong.” 

While many critics wished for the film to be longer, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw praised the project for its shorter format.

“I can imagine Strange Way of Life being enlarged into a full-length feature, but that might well dilute the impact of these variously tense and poignant scenes between the two men,” he wrote in four star review. 

“There is some very robust and old-fashioned storytelling here, and Strange Way of Life feels quite old-fashioned in its way. It’s certainly good to see Almodovar back in the saddle at Cannes.” 

Strange Way of Life’s premiere comes a few months after Pascal opened up to Insider about working with Almodóvar.

“It could have been anything that [Almodóvar] asked me to do, and I would have done it without question,” he told the outlet.

“He absolutely opened up an entire world of storytelling, colour, culture, rebellion, and sexuality that was just absolutely intoxicating, dangerous, hilarious, heartbreaking, and encompassing the whole spectrum, but with such a signature style.

“It was really an incredible opportunity to go, learn, and to enjoy the experience of being on the level of people like that. Taking it all in was incredible.”

Watch the first trailer here or below.