In my never ending quest to see Oscar nominated films after the Oscars happen, Hell or High Water hit redbox. And I’ll see almost anything that has Jeff Bridges pretending to be a Republican in it.
Brothers Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine) Howard are on a mission. Rob enough banks and launder enough money to buy back their mother’s estate. Which will soon be owned by the bank which doesn’t know the land is full of oil. Toby’s kids will be set for life if he can pull it off. Tanner, fresh out of prison, just likes causing trouble and making money.
To start, Hell or High Water is everything you’d want in regards to technical expertise. From the first scene, a glorious continuous shot that creates both tension and art, to the last, this movie is clearly made by experts. Careful planning was made here folks, and it shows. The music, the lighting, the editing also add to the carefully crafted drama unfolding on the screen.
The acting as well is top notch. Jeff Bridges sinks back into his Rooster Cogburn role with ease. Ben Foster is the unsung supporting actor of his generation. And Chris Pine is surprisingly good. Despite being just ridiculously handsome. Seriously, it’s distracting.
Hell or High Water is a revenge story. Revenge on the banks, revenge on old age, revenge on the lifestyle that led you here. It’s about relevancy. What happens when you’re no longer relevant? You do something drastic, is what you do.
There’s a quiet scene when Jeff Bridges and his partner are driving across Texas and they run into some ranchers fleeing a prairie fire with their herd. Bridge’s partner comments on the lack of fire trucks or response and Bridge’s says that these “boys are all alone out here.” As are the criminals you’re chasing, sir. That’s why they turned to crime.
If you liked The Town or No Country for Old Men, then you will like this movie. Because it’s basically a combination of the two. Character interactions are natural, the script focused, and the music only adds to the drama. What more can you ask for? Something not so predictable? When it’s this well made, I don’t care if I know where it’s leading.
3 1/2 out of 4 stars.