Hell or High Water is an heist crime film that’s set in modern day Texas, which makes it a revisionist revisionist western. The film is directed by David Mackenzie, written by Taylor Sheridan, and it stars Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges.
It’s about two brothers who rob a series of banks to save their family farm, and the Ranger looking to arrest them. Simple enough right?
The good; this film got made. Yes, it’s been said that every film that gets made is a miracle, but Hell or High Water was on the 2012 Black List. That means it was on a list of “most liked” movies that haven’t been produced yet.
I love westerns, if you know me, then there’s no need for that statement. But this movie fits in the genre of western in the characters, the motivations and the setting. There are two bank robbing brothers that are being pursued by the law, in Texas. It’s smart taking that inherently western story and seeing it against modern day Texas with all the bank fraud and mortgage corruption. Doing this to the plot makes this film even more enjoyable, and all the more relevant.
Chris Pine really showcases his acting in this film. Bravo for taking this role. Makes me wish he would do more stuff like this rather than the Star Trak fluff he’s been doing.
Character and characters are what really grab and hold you in this film. Everyone is doing something that’s clear for the plot and clear for who their character is. Brilliant performances all around in this film.
The bad; why aren’t we hearing more about this film? I doubt anyone has even heard of Hell or High Water.
The audience… a small/limited release like this usually attracts a certain type of movie-goer, in this case it’s the hipsters and the elderly. Not sure if I prefer the teenagers or the elderly… they’re both pretty awful to have in the theatres. In a movie like Hell or High Water you can tell what’s going to happen next, if you’re an intelligent movie goer. When someone says outloud what’s going to happen seconds before it happens, that’s stupid, cause I’ve already seen that coming a mile away.
Sure I sound like a grumpy movie snob, but they say no talking during aloud before the movie starts… why are you talking anyway??
Overall, go see Hell or High Water in the theatres. It’ll transport you and remind you of how movies used to be made and how they should be made. You’ll feel and understand each character as they make the right or wrong decisions against another character you’ll equally rooting for. Raw and few are the movies that manage to accomplish this today. one of the best movies you’ll never see.