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The Hi-Lo Country

57 customer reviews

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(Dec 18, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

In the American west, just after WWII, best friends Big Boy (Woody Harrelson) and Pete (Billy Crudup) return from the war to find half their hometown employed by corporate cattle-rancher Jim Ed Love (Sam Elliott). Defying Jim Ed and hanging onto mythic ideals of the west, Big Boy and Pete team up with an old-time rancher to raise cattle the cowboy way, and life in Hi-Lo, New Mexico becomes a volatile powder keg.

The fuse is lit when Mona (Patricia Arquette), the wife of Jim Ed’s foreman, begins a heated affair with Big Boy. Pete’s past longings for Mona resurface with his discovery of the affair, and the bond of friendship becomes sorely tested. Ultimately, Pete and Big Boy’s friendship will be decided by the extent of their yearnings for the same woman, while Hi-Lo awaits the outcome of the explosive run-ins between Jim Ed Love and the two proud cowboys.

Also starring Penelope Cruz (To Rome With Love), Cole Hauser (Pitch Black) and James Gammon (Cold Mountain).¬

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Billy Crudup, Woody Harrelson, Cole Hauser, Sam Elliott, Patricia Arquette
  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: December 18, 2012
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0096W46SK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,378 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Clark C. Siewert on September 21, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
What critics can't understand is that this is the way these ranch people were and still are. I was partly brought up on a ranch in West Texas, near the Hi Lo country in New Mexico. Ranch People really do have names like big boy and little boy and often speak in a slow taciturn way like Billy's character. And there are a few wild ones like the Woody Harrelson character. What the film portrays is the genuine hardness of life and human relationships in this lonely stark ranching environment, which was even more so in the time portrayed. I have met all these characters many times in real life and this film touched my heart for a way of life which is still painfully dying. The film is a great slice of American life. I will be interested in seeing what the same critics make of the soon to be released All the Pretty Horses, similar in many ways and also filmed in New Mexico. Critics, how about some respect for new Westerns that do not star Clint Eastwood and lots of violence or showcase sentimental Robert Redford?
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on April 14, 2001
Format: DVD
This character study, set in New Mexico in the early `40s, begins with an enigmatic narrative that infuses "The Hi-Lo Country," directed by Stephen Frears, with a tension that ultimately runs high throughout the entire film. The story focuses on the friendship between a couple of cowboys, Pete Calder (Billy Crudup) and Big Boy Matson (Woody Harrelson), who upon returning from the war are trying to make a go of the cattle business, while bucking some stiff competition from the local cattle baron, Jim Ed Love (Sam Elliott). At the same time, Pete becomes aware that he is not alone in his obsession with a married woman, Mona (Patricia Arquette); Big Boy has it bad for her, too, and she just happens to be the wife of Jim Ed's foreman, Les Birk (John Diehl). And, as usually happens with a situation involving obsession, things quickly begin to get sticky for all concerned. Big Boy, it seems, is the one headed for trouble; he's hot-tempered, stubborn, and fearless to a point bordering on stupidity. Pete, on the other hand, has a good head on his shoulders and has a couple of things going for him: One is a woman named Josepha (Penelope Cruz), who cares deeply for him, and the other is his unwavering loyalty to Big Boy. The tension continues to mount, and the situation is complicated further by the fact that Big Boy isn't exactly discreet about his feelings for Mona, nor of his disdain for Jim Ed Love, for whom his younger brother, Little Boy (Cole Hauser) now works. Inevitably, things come to a head; but when it happens, the arena in which it transpires is something of a surprise, though not entirely unexpected.
Frears does a good job of capturing the essence of another time and place that seems so near and yet so far away.
Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on April 5, 2000
Format: DVD
Set in the late 40's in New Mexico, HI-LO COUNTRY has the nostalgic beauty of things passed. Pete and Big boy live in the traditional cow-boy way ; hard days in the company of cows and horses in the tough new mexican climate, heavy drinking in the bars of the towns at night and the usual women & rodeos cocktail on week-ends. But this life cannot last for ever. Progress, lawmen and fast money are killing little by little one of the most enduring american dream.
Director Stephen Frears opposes in HI-LO COUNTRY these two different ways of life that can't live together. Curiously enough, the new generation is prompter to use guns in order to solve problems and young senoritas are far more rational than the sons of John Wayne. But one thing doesn't change in the turmoil of time : nature and its breath-taking beauty.
HI-LO COUNTRY is a beautiful movie, an out of time movie which can reconcile you with true cinema. Note the wonderful musical score which explores with subtlety different atmospheres : country-music, folkloric tunes and lyrical LEGENDS OF THE FALL-like themes.
A DVD for your library.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Doepke on January 11, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
The plot may creak a bit, but the film itself remains a superbly done period piece. It is Northeastern New Mexico, circa 1945, and the prairie vistas are wide open with an unbounded sense of freedom, but one that stretches out to monotonously barren horizons. Homesteading cattle is no easy task in the hardpan Hi-Lo country, and certainly no place for the Hollywood glamor factory. Except for a few questionable touches (Sam Elliott's leering villian, for one), the viewer gets a real sense of time and place, and of what goes on with the hard-bitten folks living there. The movie's core, however, remains Woody Harrelson's Big Boy whose boisterously callous behavior develops so slyly, you may not notice your own shifting responses. The jut-jawed Harrelson is near perfect, as are the cow town atmospherics with their smoky Saturday night honky-tonk. Seldom has anyone gotten a cowboy so right, and seldom has any film blended landscape of place with landscape of character more successfully than this one. Both demonstrate how sheer surface expanse can overwhelm frail emotional depth. Martin Scorese ( a most unlikely source for a Western theme) was a background producer, and I suspect it is he we have to thank for getting this very non-commercial story onto the video screen. Stephen Frears directs at a leisurely but revealing pace, allowing the occasional quiet but necessary moment to creep in. This minor gem should satisfy anyone curious about those obscure backwaters of the American West that appear mysteriously as blank spots on the road map. Despite undeniable concessions, Hi-Lo Country remains truer to its prosaic sources than the mock heroics and contrived mayhem of the traditional western, and is thus well worth a look see. Give it a try.
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