The Hi-Lo Country (1998)

The Hi-Lo Country (1998)
  • Time: 114 min
  • Genre: Drama | Romance | Western
  • Director: Stephen Frears
  • Cast: Woody Harrelson, Billy Crudup, Patricia Arquette


An intimate story of the enduring bond of friendship between two hard-living men, set against a sweeping backdrop: the American West, post-World War II, in its twilight. Pete and Big Boy are masters of the prairie, but ultimately face trickier terrain: the human heart.

One comment

  • There’s something a bit lacking in The Hi-Lo Country. It can’t be the grandeur of the Old West for we are graced with breathtaking panoramas of Santa Fe, New Mexico from first scene to last. Nor can it be the cast who keep things interesting even when the movie insists on being stillborn in pace. No, what’s missing in this tale of desire, friendship and betrayal is a sense of romantic fatalism. Its absence is particularly perplexing as director Stephen Frears had shown such deftness in conveying it in his previous films (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, My Beautiful Laundrette, and Prick Up Your Ears).

    It all started with a horse. A horse named Old Sorrel who bucked his owner Pete (Billy Crudup) off while standing at rest. In selling the horse, Pete meets up with Big Boy (Woody Harrelson) and thus is a great friendship born. They run together, chase women, drink, and give a good brawl. The good times are interrupted by World War II and when Pete returns from the war, trouble bubbles to the surface. Jim Ed Love (Sam Elliott) has bought up most of Hi-Lo’s lands and businesses and the cowboys are in the twilight of their time. Then there are the women: the married Mona (Patricia Arquette), whom Pete lusts after but cannot have, and the one he settles for, Josepha (Penélope Cruz), whose love isn’t enough to make him forget Mona.

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