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Review - Hell or High Water

By midlandsmovies, Dec 16 2016 06:32PM

Hell or High Water (2016) Dir. David Mackenzie

This new American bank heist film from David Mackenzie stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as two brothers desperately trying to save their family business by stealing from the very banks they owe money to.

On their trail is a grizzled Jeff Bridges (is he ever not grizzled now?) as a close-to-retirement Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton who along with his partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) are on the hunt for the criminals. Foster is great as the ex-con brother taking impulsive and violent risks whilst Pine supresses his Kirk mouthy-ness for a more subtle performance as a man going down the only path left to him.

From dusty roads to budget diners, the film revels in its unobtrusive locations and settings to add realism to a well worn tale. Gruff Jeff (Bridges) doesn’t bring anything other than his usual world-wearing post-Dude crankiness but in this role it is in fact perfect as the calm, considered and experience cop on the chase.

The low sun and sparse fields of the landscape contrast the director’s smaller interiors where snippets of dialogue reveal character traits and motivations which is a credit to the script and its delivery by the terrific actors. As they fight against the larger rural terrain outside (representative of the all-encompassing banks the family are slaves to) the tension builds and the cat-and-mouse pursuit heads towards an intense climax where the brothers take a gamble too far.

Efficient in story-telling and with flashes of action interspersed with intimate tête-à-têtes, Hell or High Water is a low key success that is both gritty and smart, tough and stylish and definitely one of this year’s highlights.


Midlands Movies Mike

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