Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Movie Review: "Hell or High Water" (2016)

Image Source
Movie"Hell or High Water"
Director: David Mackenzie
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Toby (Chris Pine) and his brother Tanner (Ben Foster) go on a bank robbing spree in order to get enough money to pay off their family's land.

"Hell or High Water" is directed by David Mackenzie and is written by Taylor Sheridan, who wrote the screenplay for "Sicario." one of our favorite films last year. It stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as Toby and Tanner Howard, two brothers who have begun a bank robbing spree in order to steal enough money to pay off their family farm. Marcus Hamilton, played by Jeff Bridges, and Alberto Parker, played by Gil Birmingham, are the two Texas rangers trying to piece together who is responsible for perpetrating these heists, as well as attempting to figure out their next move before they strike the next location.

This film creates a compelling scenario where we can root for both the criminals and the police to reach their end goal. We understand Toby and his desire to make a better life for his kids, as well as his struggle to break free from what he sees as a rigged system where the rich perpetuate the cycle of richness for their kin, and how banks oppress the little guys and make it harder for them to survive. Tanner can be harder to sympathize with as he is the more wild and crazy of the two. He is an ex-con who seems to enjoy the troubled life he leads. Somehow, the filmmakers allow the audience to gravitate towards him because of his charisma and humorous yet abrasive nature. We also appreciate what Tanner is willing to risk in order to help his brother help his family. On the flip side, we also root for the police to catch these criminals because they are just trying to do their job by upholding the law. This isn't really a case of hero versus villain, but rather hero versus antihero as one tries to uphold the system and the other fights against the system that has done them wrong. We can really see where both sides are coming from, which is often not the case with films like this.

Chris Pine continues to impress us more and more with his acting abilities. We haven't always been huge fans of his, but his portrayal as Toby is both convincing and nuanced. Toby is the more restrained of the two brothers, and he never looks remotely comfortable with what he feels he has to do. We feel like Ben Foster has been around as an actor for quite some time, but this is by far one of the best performances of his career, and if we're being honest, it kind of came out of nowhere. Finally, there is really no one quite like Jeff Bridges. He has had a storied career through the decades, and though we have not loved his last few movies, he solidifies his status as one of the greats with this bare-bones but effective performance as Texas ranger Marcus Hamilton. Right before he is set to retire, Marcus decides to take one final case before he hangs up his cowboy hat. Alongside him is his partner, Alberto Parker. Parker is constantly harassed by Hamilton as the two seem to have a love/hate relationship. They constantly make fun of each other, but clearly have a great respect and adoration for one another as well. Bridges and Birmingham have a fantastic dynamic, and we absolutely loved these characters and their many darkly hilarious exchanges.

"Hell or High Water" boasts an impressive visual smorgasbord as wide, far-off shots of long Texas (but actually New Mexican) plains and a sky filled with an array of colors from foreboding to inviting often frame the background in a way that is both majestic and telling. Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens sure knows how to capture a moment. These raw visuals combine with some terrific, brilliant acting to create a well shot, gritty modern western and crime drama to reinforce the summer of 2016 as the indie king/queen. We remained captivated by the story and drawn in by the performances. This is a film definitely worth checking out on the big screen.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~100%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

No comments:

Post a Comment