Film · Film Review

Film Review: Hell or High Water (2016)

Hell or High Water is a story about a divorced and down on his luck father and his ex-con brother who, in a desperate attempt to save their mother’s ranch, design a risky bank robbing scheme that has them running from a soon to be reluctantly retiring Texas Ranger. Read my review…Hell or High Water

Toby (Chris Pine) plays a divorced father robbing banks with his brother Tanner (Ben Foster) who has barely been out of prison for a year. As a result, a Texas Ranger, Marcus played by Jeff Bridges, starts on a hunt across West Texas with his partner Alberto, brilliantly played by Gil Birmingham. By far the best part of this movie are the stellar performances by all four of the main characters. Both pairs of characters have amazing chemistry between them. Check out the trailer and you’ll see what I mean.

This is the best I have seen of both Ben Foster and Chris Pine, and the aforementioned chemistry between the two adds a lot to the overall performances. Continuing on the acting performances, Jeff Bridges shows us once again why he is an Oscar winner and has also been nominated 6 times (including this role).

Beyond the main characters, most of the small and bit part characters had very colourful personalities which added to the gritty tone of the movie as a whole. I am leaning towards giving the credit for that to the write Taylor Sheridan simply because I have also seen similar characteristics in Sicario which he also wrote.

You may have also noticed from the trailer that the cinematography and camerawork are gorgeous. This holds true for the entire movie. Throughout the movie, you are reminded just how vast Texas is and how barren it can be if you’re not careful. Once again, this adds a lot to the overall tone of the movie. Great props to the Giles Nuttgens, the director of photography on this project.

Regarding the story itself, it starts off as a simple story of a couple of bank robbers. But eventually, we are exposed to the deeper motivations behind these bank robbers and why they operate the way they do. This is where my one and the only problem lies with the movie. It took a couple lulls in the middle of the story while we are exposed to these deeper motivations. Now I will preface this by saying that I am not well versed in western crime dramas and as a result, my dislike for this one particular plot development may well be due to my limited exposure to these types of movies. Therefore it did not match my expectations.

Despite that little gripe, I thought that the story was gripping and engaging for the most part. I really, really enjoyed the way this story ends. With spoiling anything, I must say that it left me wondering where some of the characters end up after this chapter in their lives.

Overall, I find that it is impossible to give credit to an individual or a select few for this brilliantly engaging story. Credit must go to the actors for brilliant performances, the writer for coming up with another great story, the DOP for a gorgeous looking movie,  the director, David Mackenzie for bringing this story to life and the editor Jake Roberts for bringing this all together in a gripping movie going experience.

My Score: 4.5/5 – A must watch.

Hell or High Water is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video and to buy on DVD and BluRay.

If you’ve seen it already, then share your thoughts on this gem of a movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it and let me know what you think. You can always leave a comment below or find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay Awesome!


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