Hell or High Water (2016)
Set in west Texas, 2 brothers (Ben Foster, Chris Pine) are in a last ditch effort to get enough money to save their ranch from foreclosure. They decide to rob the banks who are forcing them to lose their home in order to get the money to save it. However, when the Texas Rangers get wind of what is going on, Marcus (Jeff Bridges) and his partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham) launch an investigation that will hopefully catch the brothers before they can steal anymore money.
Hell or High Water is the kind of modern western that feels like it should have been made by the Coen brothers. It is realistic and gritty. It doesn’t feel for a second that Hollywood has tainted this movie with clichés or mediocre ideas. The story might be simple, but the characters are well developed and the acting is great. Jeff Bridges always makes these kinds of movies that much better. In fact, he is the comedic relief in this movie, but when it counts, he does his job to the letter. Ben Foster always plays an edgy, bad boy character and here is no exception, and of course Chris Pine is the brother who isn’t sure about everything but goes along with it because they need the money.
The excitement and action is spotty throughout and there are some moments when the movie seems to slow and get stale, but something comes along and brings the attention back up. My biggest gripe of this movie is that the bank robbery section of the movie drags out too long and the cat and mouse section between the cops and the brothers wasn’t long enough. I love the ending, but wish they had extended the movie past that point to have a resolution that was more satisfying. I was ready to see what further was to come and the movie ended leaving me wanting more.
Hell or High Water felt like a movie set in the 1980s yet come to find out it was set in present time. It is interesting how much Midland, TX in 2015 looks like the 1980s. I was shocked as the movie continued to move along realizing this movie not only wasn’t a true western, but it was set in the new millennium.
At the end of the day, Hell or High Water might bore some people with its realistic approach and lack of flare, but the grit and character depth are the points that make this a well made movie. This is definitely one that stands out from the pack. Co-starring Katy Mixon.
7/10 Stars – With plenty of grit and realistic situations, Hell or High Water is a rare modern western that does its job well with great acting and character development.