“If I ever saw a man holdin’ a bull by the tail, you’re it.”

Pat Wheeler

A slow-burning Western with John Wayne as a small town sheriff who needs to hold out for a week until Federal Marshalls collect the prisoner in his jail, exploring resiliance, morality and the ability to accept aid. Another of Quentin Tarantino’s three desert island films (along with Blow Out and Taxi Driver), one can see style of Western he prefers, prioritising dialogue over action and earning its tension through quiet build-up and understated threats within a confined space — Howard Hawks’ direction conjures suspense in the lawmen simply walking down a street at night where every shadow is a threat. The typically male-dominated roster is at least punctuated by Angie Dickinson’s substantial riff on the femme fatale rather than being a simple floozy. Its strong cast aside, the writing elevates Rio Bravo, with the real story being the relationships between the townsfolk, their backstories emerging naturally over time.

9/10