Review: HELL OR HIGH WATER

By Liz Lopez

Rating: A

With an excellent story, fabulous cast, and outstanding performances, there is nothing that I would like to see changed in the drama Hell or High Water, starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges. It is not often that a film hits all the points so well and that instantly makes you want to see it over and over again. This has nothing to do with the fact that it is set in West Texas and I might be partial. Directed by David Mackenzie based on a screenplay written by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario), this is a highly recommended film because the story is so engaging and keeps the intensity and intrigue up to the end.

Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are brothers, with very different personalities and yet, they are brothers who have stuck together despite the many adventures and challenges they each have had through their life. They are out gathering money in an unlawful way, but they think they are justified in what they are doing. The moment I saw a close up facial shot of one actor wearing a ski mask, the unmistakable blue eyes shine through and I was amazed to see Chris Pine in this foxy cowboy role, but I left the theater thoroughly pleased to see his talent in this new character. Foster is on all the time and is someone who has years of experience on the wrong side of the law and tons of energy that will keep him there. I certainly hope this film has an opportunity to win some awards this season.

Although Toby has kept his record clear, except maybe for failure to pay his child support for two boys timely, he plans the robberies. His mother has recently passed and the local bank, Texas Midlands wants the family ranch, so there are foreclose proceedings on the property. Toby also learned that oil right underneath the land that has been in their family for ages. There is a great line in the film that I love about a culture of being poor and how he wants to stop it in time for the future of his children.

Jeff Bridges is perfectly cast as the aged Texas Ranger, Marcus, and should be retiring, but he is definitely ready for his last hurrah. Marcus has no problem insulting his partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham) and many of the insults were very harsh and I could feel how painful and uncomfortable this is for him. Their performance together as partners is magnetic.

Nick Cave is in charge of the music for this film and each song fits the scene to carry us along as we follow the brothers on their crime spree in West Texas and Oklahoma.

I certainly hope this film has an opportunity to win some awards this season.

The running time is 102 minutes and it is rated R. The film opens in theaters August 12th.

Source: CBS Films, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment

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