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But I didn't like this.
Think of an Am Dram Society that aren't that good. Then put them into scenes with just about every clichéd Western moment you can think of. Edit the film by using a pair of scissors then sticking the bits you want back together with sellotape and you have this film.
We are even treated to the scene in the theater where the local "cowboys" are shooting their guns at the ceiling because they enjoyed the act!!
I have tried hard to find something positive to say about this but I am sorry I am unable to.
If you like a good Western. Don't bother with this.
This movie is bad in every category imaginable: Every single actor in the movie is self conscious in front of the camera and / or can't act. The movie is full of long winded dialog at first. The story line is choppy and confusing. Costuming looks like they individually picked their costumes from a second hand store. Some of the slang used in the movie is contemporary - not something heard in the West in the 1800's - In the movie - one cowboy turns to another and actually says: "Don't get your short's in a knot!" If you watch this - be ready to watch a second rate community theater put on a western play with somebody filming it with a movie camera. - But there is one good thing about it - - no, wait - - actually - there isn't one good thing I can say about it. - -
I watched this movie through it's entirety but thought of turning it off many times. I think the movie entertained me because I wasn't used to the entire cast of acting to be so terrible and I had nothing else to do this evening so I didn't push the eject button on my DVD player. It was totally hilarious due to that fact. People over emphasized with odd facial expressions, body language and the pitching of the voice. Some spoke slowly like they were reading or didn't do their homework to speak with a confident flow. I actually feel that this is the worst movie I have ever seen and I'm 46 years old. The producer/director should be chased out of Hollywood for wasting people's time and money. I'm sorry but I'm just being real here.
Have you ever tried to shoot a picture with an epic scope on a limited
budget with limited means and a uneven cast of talent . . . for your
first picture? Try it sometime.
COME HELL OR HIGH WATER is indeed a seriously flawed picture, especially if you're judging it against the polish or groundbreaking innovation of the films it clearly pays homage to. But this is a homegrown feature shot for pennies (a hundred thousand pennies, give or take, if I understand correctly) and it is what it is.
If it has a crucial flaw, it's the fact that the performances would look more at home on a stage than with a camera in their faces for a medium shot or close-up. Yes, the performances are uneven (with some being downright amateurish), but a few of the crucial ones are quite good with star, Mark Redfield, actually stepping up and straddling the line between low-rent western and Shakespeare rather nicely.
COME HELL OR HIGH WATER is a movie that was whittled down from a much longer feature called ONE-EYED HORSE and this shorter cut is smartly edited to emphasize Redfield's performance and his obsession.
As I said above, it's a feature made with limited means, but if you find NOTHING worthwhile in this film, then I'd say that the whole "local homegrown shoestring" method of film-making simply isn't to your tastes. COME HELL OR HIGH WATER is indicative of the types of limitations you usually find in pictures like this, but it also transcends those limitations given that it has heart, a sharper script than you be giving it credit for (try watching it with captions at one point to see how it reads) and it has some real heart.
Often times, a feature made on the "homegrown shoestring level" goes for sensationalism, outrage, and nudge-in-the-ribs camp (much like JimmyO Burrill's CHAINSAW SALLY, also featuring Mr. Redfield in fine scenery-chewing form), but COME HELL OR HIGH WATER/ONE-EYED HORSE dares to play it earnestly straight. That's quite a bold risk and it's amazing that the picture works as often as it does (owing to the obvious affection for westerns and Shakespeare in the writing as well as the few key performances who properly nail the tone of this thing).
If you can't find anything nice to say about COME HELL OR HIGH WATER, then this just isn't your type of crude, do-it-yourself film-making and your expectations for what makes a movie are calibrated too high to enjoy this. True, most viewers will only see this feature as a "quintessence of dust" and cheap-looking video, but there are pleasures to be had: There's some nice drama (and intentional humor) from the performers who are good and, alas, some amusing camp from those who are not.
It's a cult movie that's still looking for its cult. Perhaps writer/director, Wayne Shipley could add a chainsaw-wielding, cannibalistic librarian for the rumored third cut of the picture, but COME HELL OR HIGH WATER/ONE-EYED HORSE deserves to stand on its own legs, coltish as they are.
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