The Enduring Heat: A Summer Film Diary (05 July 2012)

Ride the High Country

What begins as a slow-moving, unambitious Western evolves in its third act into one of the greatest films ever made.  This picture really surprised me.  It is rare when a film pulls a 180 in the fashion of Ride the High Country.  Most pictures, even good ones, have static characters who change the world around them.  Rarely does the static world change the characters.  Describing the story is fruitless because for the most part, Ride the High Country doesn’t have a story.  It’s like Rio Bravo: more of an experience than a narrative.  However, this film is poetical and intense, building and building toward a Biblical climax.  All of the characters are malleable.  One even starts off entirely unlikable and evolves into a first-rate hero.  Now that’s screenwriting.

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