Hell or High Water (2016) - movie review on The Movie Scene

Hell or High Water (2016)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Chris Pine in Hell or High Water (2016)

The Modern West

Unemployed oil and gas worker Toby Howard (Chris Pine) is desperate to save his late mother's ranch; trouble is that in just days the Texas Midlands Bank is going to foreclose on a loan. It is why along with his criminal brother Tanner (Ben Foster) they are on a crime spree, robbing a series of Texas Midland Banks in order to raise the funds in time. But on their trail is Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who on the verge of retirement is determined to catch the bank robbers with the help of his partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham), an Indian descendant.

I reckon if I was to search through all my western movie reviews I would find one which is quite similar to "Hell or High Water" because the whole storyline of brothers turning to crime to save the family ranch is pretty generic. Even the whole aspect of a retiring lawman doggedly going after the brothers is just as generic. The thing is that I get a real feeling that "Hell or High Water" intended to be this generic, or classic, as it feels like the focus is make a contemporary homage to the westerns and on that level it succeeds. In fact credit where it is due and it builds nicely to an expected but powerful end.

Ben Foster in Hell or High Water (2016)

And I have to be fair and say the acting in "Hell or High Water" is good with Jeff Bridges once again sounding like George 'Gabby' Hayes. But it is the pairing of Chris Pine and Ben Foster who really make the movie with Foster playing that loving older brother who has that wild side which means he loves trouble. But then there is Chris Pine and he plays his part well but he also looks like he is preparing for a remake of "Gone with the Wind".

There is though one thing which works against "Hell or High Water" for me and that is there is an artsy side to some of the movie, lingering shots which initially seem to want to make a point about the changing face of the countryside but go on to the point of becoming pretentious.

What this all boils down to is that "Hell or High Water" is a good contemporary western which has a classic storyline and a popular cast. But this is a movie which at times strays in to being too artsy which spoils the movies rhythm.


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