Do Jake and Silva End Up Together in Strange Way of Life?

Pedro Almodóvar’s Western short ‘Strange Way of Life’ ends without explicitly revealing whether Jake and Silva end up together as a couple. After getting shot by Silva, who tries his best to save his son Joe from the sheriff, Jake stays in the rancher’s house to heal. Since he cannot explain why Silva didn’t leave him to die to the townsfolk, likely knowing their homophobic nature, Jake remains on the ranch to get better. Silva then reminds him that his ranch is a good enough place for two people to look after each other. Even though the proclamation gives birth to Jake’s smile, it may not be enough for the rancher to share the rest of his life with the sheriff! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Jake’s Promises and Obligations

Jake and Silva shared a heartwarming relationship when they were two hired guns in their youth. They celebrated their time together sharing intimacy and bathing in wine. Even though they loved each other, Jake’s obligation as a son to look after his sick father separated him from Silva. The separation then lasted for twenty-five years, leading the two men to build a life without the other present. Still, Jake and Silva haven’t been able to kill their feelings for each other for good. When the rancher reappears in the sheriff’s life after more than two decades, his habits and way of life change enough and the temptation to restart sharing intimacy with the former conquers him.

When Silva tells Jake that a ranch is a good place for two lovers to look after one another, the latter offers a smile which indicates that he agrees. However, the same smile may not be an indication that the two men will end up together. Regardless of Jake’s feelings for Silva, he is still obligated to fulfill his promises to his dying father and brother. Even if he wants to spend the rest of his life with the rancher, the sheriff is expected to hunt down Joe to honor the word he gave to his loved ones. If he leads the young man to the gallows, it is unlikely that Silva will get back together with the murderer of his son.

Silva loves Joe as much as Jake loves his late father and brother. That’s the reason why the rancher is able to shoot down the love of his life ruthlessly and ensure the safety of his child. If Jake becomes the reason behind Joe’s execution for murder, Silva may not be ready to forgive the former. The last thing he may want is to share his bed with the killer of his son. Thus, the chances of Jake burying his feelings for Silva to hunt down Joe are high. He abandoned the rancher once and there isn’t any indication that proves that he won’t do the same again.

Bitter Creek’s Homophobia

Even if Jake decides against capturing Joe and ensuring the suspected murderer’s execution, he may not have the courage to share his life with Silva fearing the reaction of his townsfolk. Jake and Silva’s arguments reveal that the sheriff is concerned about what the town thinks about him. That’s the reason why Silva reminds Jake how difficult it will be for him if the town finds the rancher dead in the bedroom of the latter undressed. Jake doesn’t storm off from Silva’s house since he doesn’t want others to find out that the latter nursed him back to health because the ranchman loves the former.

As someone who is concerned about Bitter Creek’s perception of him, Jake is not expected to be brave enough to invite Silva into his life. Jake’s possible decision to remain separated from the rancher can be paralleled with Pedro Almodóvar’s intention to not lead his two protagonists to a union for good. “It [the short film] ends in a peaceful moment, but it gives the impression that this couple is going to live together. That was not my intention!” the filmmaker told A.frame. Therefore, we may not need to be hopeful about Jake and Silva’s togetherness. After getting healed properly, the sheriff may continue his pursuit to find Joe, bidding adieu to the rancher once again.

Jake’s efforts to find Joe may force Silva to follow him. To make sure that his son won’t be hanged for murder, the rancher may even consider eliminating the threat of the sheriff once and for all, even if it means killing his love for the latter.

Read More: Strange Way of Life: Are Jake and Silva Based on Real People?