The story is about a man returning to his abandoned wife after seven years of drifting from job to job throughout the southwest. The embittered woman will only let him stay if he agrees to move in as a hired hand.
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Quiet, reflective, and sad Western with gorgeous, shimmering landscape cinematography from Vilmos Zsigmond and an aching, deeply hypnotic score by Bruce Langhorne which perfectly captures the mournful feeling of the lonesome frontier.
Agree with the Flying Dutchman below and I was guilty of neglecting htis one until this afternoon. For a 90-min film, it moves at a very labored pace, but it works. Langhorne's score is as perfect as a score gets for a western. And that final scene, of the horses coming it, set to Langhorne's music, is incredible. Definite must-see western.
Kind of an Ur-Western, reduced to the fundamentals of Main Street, saloon, homestead, abandoned wife, burning sun, the endless trail. But I think it's really about hardened frontierspeople learning to love and express love again. Which is cool, 'cos I can admit I love Warren Oates.
(viewed ~ Sep 2010) A pal called HH "the only true example of an ambient western" -- a 100% accurate description that didn't prepare me for the visual/emotional feast. Fonda's cowboy is a dissthentic wisp torn 'tween a homely wife and range life; but Fonda the director is godlike. He lets there be light; light patiently forms images; images, paralleled by Langhorne's sonic creationism, form a world; & it was good.
2,5 stars. A man cuts-off from his family for the sake of adventure and stays away for seven years. Fed-up with wandering around, he returns; expecting from his wife, as if nothing had happened. A drama about a marriage transplanted into the Wild West. Rare, short dialogues, very slow, couple of hangovers, disturbing and unnecessary cross-fadings of camera. Beautiful landscape pictures, however, this is not enough.
The most hypnotic, ambient western i'll maybe ever see. Fonda creates a tone which is poetic, weightless and gracful through mystical music, hazy editing montages and discreet dialogue. A subdued beauitful film. 4/5