A movie that covers so many themes – and it’s quite good at doing so.
If the characters are wearing stetsons, lassoing cows or livestock, or doing anything that I’d flag as “country related,” I’m automatically out. So, I will confess that I went into Hell or High Water…let’s say… “concerned.”
This American Crime-Heist-Action-Thriller stars Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, and Ben Foster, and tells the story of two down-on-their-luck brothers who are looking to keep their mother’s home and land, situated in a Texas town. The land is worth a pretty penny: there’s oil in the ground, ergo, there are thousands of reasons (and dollars) for the bank to try and get their hands on it. The only way to keep the bank out of the whole thing is to pay back their mother’s bank loan. Their solution: rob banks to get the cash. That has Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) looking into the cases with his partner, Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham).
The film is no picnic in the park. If you don’t like racist jokes, snapshots of poor towns, or violence, then this movie is probably not for you. The film is a gritty, no-holds-barred representation of a town that’s under so much misfortune, it’s brutal. Hamilton is a well-meaning Texas Ranger who often pokes fun at his coloured partner. When the two show up to crime scenes, they’re obviously not seeing the nicest of things, but it’s the standard fare for a film that covers content like this.
And then there are the various shades of right and wrong; of good versus evil. The layers upon layers of who is bad and who is good are incredible. Watching the brothers on this roller coaster ride of misery, you can’t help but feel some empathy for them. The Machiavellian motifs are covered so smoothly. The people I thought I’d end up strongly disliking in this film are the ones that I appreciate, and the people you think are the “good guys” or the victims in this…not so much.
For its layering, its story telling, and mostly strong pacing, I’m giving Hell or High Water 4 Texas Rangers out of 5.
Hell or High Water is out in limited release in Metro Vancouver.