‘Justice isn’t a crime’
From the mind of the man who wrote the 2015 hit movie Sicario comes Hell or High Water, a gritty entertaining drama set in the West Texas about two bank robbers and the Texas Rangers who pursue them. Chris Pine and Ben Foster shine as the brothers who start robbing banks to get back at the system that was trying to screw them. Their relationship and dynamic is exceptionally believable with the two actors playing off each other, both shine in their roles, Foster as the older loose cannon and Pine as the more innocent of the two. Jeff Bridges stars as the ageing old school Ranger on his last case before retirement, trying to out smart the brothers. Though the story may feel like it is going to be straightforward or predictable there are plenty of moments that will surprise the audience.
In movies like Hell or High Water there are a few things that contribute to the success and entertainment, acting, dialogue and cinematography. This movie has it all. I believe that Ben Foster is incredibly under-rated as an actor and again we witness incredible talent from him that should have seen him nominated by the Academy. If you are not familiar with his work watch his performances in Alpha Dog and Lone Survivor where he shines in a supporting role. Jeff Bridges must have been a cowboy in a previous life since his performance is so realistic. Superb as the grouchy old cop who is on his way out, Bridges has a strong dynamic with Gil Birmingham, his half Mexican half Native American partner, and yes his ethnicity is important to the movie. Chris Pine shows off a new side not often seen in many of his films. Not that he is a bad actor but many of his film do not require the same depth as seen in his role as Toby Howard. Like the other talented actors in the film, he has an ability to make the audience buy into his characters motivation for his actions.
Acclaim should also be shown towards Taylor Sheridan for his script, the man is gifted at writing films that incorporate suspenseful action and simple yet brilliant dialogue. His previous movie Sicario has many similar themes and styles as Hell or High Water. Sheridan has a way of drawing the audience into the worlds he creates, in particular the moral ambiguity of the world.
There is a subtle beauty in this film that highlights a part of America that suffered after the Global Financial Crisis. Despite the film being about bank robbers the real villains appear to be the banks themselves. This provides a sense of poetic justice for some of the people in the film. This is a credit to the writing and directing as none of the social commentary feels on the nose or is the main point of the film rather works as a sub plot. There is a lack of pretentiousness surrounding Hell or High Water that make it a superior film to many others that examine a post GFC America. It is rare to see a film like Hell or High Water has such a deep theme yet not have it the focus of the movie meaning audiences can still go an be highly entertained.
This movie offers an insight in a culture not often seen around the world. I acknowledge that not every American is like this and in fact this would only apply to small number of Americans but it still offers a fascinating insight into a very different part of the world. There is one scene in a restaurant where the waitress asks what don’t the customers want. They have a specific menu that you either don’t want one of the sides. This was a hilarious scene that makes the audience laugh in a way that makes them feel like they are in an old western film. In fact the movie feels like a great American Western set in modern times, with members of the public referencing frontier style justice and even lynch mob beliefs. We do not see many bank robber films like this any more, as people can’t really rob banks like this anymore so the movies change the way heist films are made.
Hell or High Water was one of my favourite films of 2016, it blends drama, action and political themes into a highly entertaining movie. I can see why it was nominated for Best Picture but I don’t think that it will actually win, but it is great that it got recognised for the fantastic film that it is. Hell or High Water scores 85% and a HD
Hell or High Water is available on Blu Ray, iTunes and other On Demand Services in Australia.
Thank you for reading my review. Let me know what you thought in the comments below. Have you seen Hell or High Water? What did you think?
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