Hell or High Water is a modern western heist movie that follows two brothers who are carrying out a series of bank robberies in order to save the family farm from foreclosure. Toby (Chris Pine) is a divorced father of two who recruits his recently released ex-con brother Tanner (Ben Foster) who has the know-how and grit to help his young brother complete the job at hand. With the bank jobs well planned and smartly executed, what could go wrong? Enter Two Texas Rangers, Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham).
As well as the film being a tense cat and mouse game between the brothers and the local law enforcement, the film is a very politically charged piece set against a modern Texas wastelands after the Global Financial Crisis. The brothers going against the banking system helps us to get behind these modern day Robin Hood characters; they are simply taking what they need in order to save what is being robbed from them.
Chris Pine holds his own against two of the greatest screen actors of our day, bringing good looks and charm reminiscent of a young Robert Redford. Ben Foster is simply brilliant as Toby’s volatile older brother Tanner, who may have a screw loose but knows his place in the universe. But, yet again Jeff Bridges steals the show as a Texas Ranger near to retirement who might just have some fun before they send him off to his rocking chair. Starting out quite subtle, Bridges shows us why he has been nominated six times for Oscars and I would not be surprised if he doesn’t receive another nom this coming Feb.
David Mackenzie’s direction and Giles Nuttgens’s cinematography paints an equally desolate and beautiful looking film. The soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is the icing on this Texas sweet cake.
Highly entertaining with a satirical edge, this smartly written and perfectly directed film will have you engrossed till the very end. Simply put, Hell or High Water is one of the best movies of the year.
Reviewed by Ian Wright.