The Hi-Lo Country

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The Hi-Lo Country ★★½ 1998 (R)

For years, Sam Peckinpah wanted to make this movie. It took Martin Scorsese to resurrect the project and to secure Walon Green to adapt the 1961 Max Evans novel for the screen. Pete Calder (Crudup) returns to New Mexico from WWII. While waiting for buddy Big Boy Matson (Harrelson) to return from the Marines, Pete falls for Mona (Arquette), a saucy woman whose husband works for the area's biggest rancher, Jim Love (Elliott). When Big Boy does return, it becomes obvious that he and Mona are hot for each other, so Pete bows out. Big Boy is the last real cowboy (a favorite Peckinpah theme), who loves the land, fears no one, and knows his times are coming to an end. Director Frears may not completely understand the American mythic West, but thanks to Oliver Stapleton's cinematography, the film has a look close to what a Peckinpah or a Ford might have given it. 114m/C VHS, DVD . Woody Harrelson, Patricia Arquette, Billy Crudup, Penelope Cruz, Sam Elliott, Cole Hauser, Darren E. Burrows, Jacob Vargas, James Gammon, Lane Smith, Katy Jurado, John Diehl, Enrique Castillo, Rosaleen Linehan; D: Stephen Frears; W: Walon Green; C: Oliver Stapleton; M: Carter Burwell.