Ethics, knowing what is “right” and what is “wrong” isn’t always black and white. Many people live life on the straight and narrow, never doing something morally wrong. What happens when those same people are placed in an extraordinary situation? Doing something “wrong” may be the only thing they can do so the”right” thing happens. Hell or High Water poses this moral quandary with great writing, directing and cast…
Two brothers, played by Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) who’s family farm is about to be foreclosed on, decide to “stick it to the man” by robbing the branches of the bank that hold the mortgage. A retiring Texas Ranger, played by Jeff Bridges, makes it a point to catch the bank robbers or “go out in a blaze of glory”.
Should You See Hell or High Water?
Simply put, yes, but the movie is not that black and white. The characters seem one dimensional at first but as the story unfolds so do they. Spectacular acting and humor comes from Jeff Bridges with his constant racial attacks on his partner (played by Gil Birmingham). Ben Foster brings this brooding yet family first quality to his character that has shades of Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma. Chris Pine, playing the “smart brother”, almost disappeared on screen but really pulled his character into the spot light at the end.
Pulling it All Together
All of the characters come together because of Taylor Sheridan’s writing (Sicario). The film is a sobering look at some of the financial practices that occur when it comes to debt, defending what belongs to your family and upholding the law. What you get is a great story that pulls these characters together whether they like it or not.
The director, David Mackenzie, is British but you’ll never know by watching this film. His eye for the actors really puts their emotions on screen. Moving on, David really managed to catch the small town feeling that is so dominant in Texas while also showing the sheer size and beauty of the Lone Star State. People in Texas are sassy for the most part and David managed to coax that feeling out of almost every scene. I honestly can find anything to change in this film.
To wrap up, do not go into this film expecting long winded gun fights, epic car chases or insanely complex robberies. Hell or High Water is a robbery film that stands apart from other titles in the same genre, in a good way.