Concrete Cowboy: The BRWC Review. By Julius Tabel.
Netflix ́ newest film features Caleb McLaughlin portraying a teenage boy whose mother pushes him off to his mostly unknown father. There, he reunites with an old friend and has to get on with working in a stable. Furthermore, he creates a passion for horses and is tied between living the street or the cowboy life.
The only thing I really liked about “Concrete Cowboy” was its atmosphere provided by solid direction and strong performances. Besides that, the story has goals, but no idea how to achieve them. It feels brainless from time to time; Side-stories appear and disappear, it is very predictable, and the protagonist is non-sensical as well. Additionally, “Concrete Cowboy” features many clichés and is sometimes awful to watch.
First of all, this story is unfortunately very predictable. From the first moment on a character begins to tell his story, or a thing appears, you know what ́s going to happen sooner or later. And to be honest, I was never wrong with my predictions. This also indicates that “Concrete Cowboy” isn ́t a special movie.
The direction actually exceeded my expectations because I didn ́t expect much from Netflix, but Ricky Staub created an atmosphere. His vision of those real cowboys seems to be really strong. The film doesn ́t try hard to be some kind of Neo-Western; it ́s a film on its own. Sure, typical horses-and-Western themes are present here and there, but overall, the mood in “Concrete Cowboy” was pretty chilling. In addition, Caleb McLaughlin can do more than just Stranger Things. He truly proves to be a good actor, and his performance here will not be forgotten over the future course of his promising career.
Nevertheless, his character feels misplaced in the story. First, he has no goals. Things just happen for him, and it ́s not like he ́s trying to find his place in the world. Second, he never fails. A good and convincing protagonist should doubt what he is doing. Things like riding a horse and love seem so easy for him. He isn ́t very relatable. Third, being trapped between his childhood friend doing drug deals on the street, and his father ́s community at the stable, there is no real conflict in him. He is here and there, but he never has to decide. Troubles appear on both sides, but that doesn’t seem to be big problem after some time. This makes Cole a very unconvincing character.
Next on, “Concrete Cowboy” introduces many side stories, but they don ́t have any effects on the main course. Without spilling some big spoilers here, there is a guy in a wheelchair who says that he doesn ́t ride anymore. Well, guess what, two scenes later we are presented an inspirational scene of him riding a horse. This actually wouldn ́t be so bad if it weren ́t so predictable, and if the guy had a bigger role after his arc was finished. Then, there is a love story out of nowhere that literally goes on for one scene before it loses its importance again. I don ́t see the logic behind all this. The writers seemed to have a story, but couldn ́t find a plot.
To be fair, in some scenes, you can truly feel this Cowboy vibe which is why I think that most people will enjoy this more than I did. This story is interesting for sure, and I love the fact that a film features this subject, but ultimately, what do I take from watching “Concrete Cowboy”? Not much, to be honest. It ́s message is clear, but not powerful nor very convincing or thought-provoking.
All in all, “Concrete Cowboy” may not necessarily be as bad as I depict it in this review, but don ́t expect a masterpiece or at least a good movie. The movie has some few good moments, but beyond that it feels pointless, idealess, and unconvincing.
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