Film Review: Buck Alamo

The singing cowboy

There comes a time in every cowboy’s life when he has to hang up his boots and face up to the fragility of his existence. However much he might yearn for life to carry on forever, at some point his own mortality comes knocking. This can be a time of reckoning and self-reflection. Of looking back through his life and contemplating all the wrong decisions and mistakes he’s made. Using his final days to try and put things right. This is where an old-timer finds himself in Buck Alamo.

Eli Cody (Sonny Carl Davis) is reaching the end of his existence on this mortal coil. That’s what the doctor tells him but he can also feel it in his bones. The self-styled singing cowboy, Buck Alamo, has left a trail of destruction in his wake. Making a mess of all his relationships, one way or another. As the curtain comes down, he travels across Texas with his dog Chester trying to make amends with old friends and his two daughters (Lorelei Linklater and Lee Eddy).

Buck Alamo is a lyrical and often febrile portrait of a man facing up to his past and not liking what he sees. Writer/Director Ben Epstein’s film is possibly the closest we’ll get to a country/blues song being adapted for the big screen. It works so well thanks to a nuanced performance from Davis who is the fulcrum at the heart of an oft-times dreamlike reverie. Buck Alamo is poetic tale of living in the fast lane and dying in lonely melancholy.

Buck Alamo screened at Austin Film Festival and will feature at Cinequest on 4 November.

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