Samstag, 28. Januar 2017


Title: Hell or High Water
Running Time: 102 min
Director: David Mackenzie
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Dale Dickey, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham

If you say you will do something come hell or high water, you mean you are determined to do it whatever difficulties might occur. Take this phrase as the title of a heist film, give it a dusty Texas setting and add a mumbling Jeff Bridges in the role of a ranger and you have yourself a promising neo-western crime drama. The script with the working title "Comancheria" landed on 2012 Blacklist (a list of the most promising, unfilmed screenplays) and four years later the finished product received a total of four Oscar-Nominations including its writer Taylor Sheridan.
"Hell or High Water" is the story of two men, Toby (played by Chris Pine) and Tanner Howard (played by Ben Foster), who are not only brothers by blood, but also brothers in arms when in comes to robbing banks. While Tanner has always been a troublemaker and even spent time in jail, Toby has so far lived an ordinary man's life. It is the death of their mother that puts Toby on the path of a criminal. As she was left broke and in debt due to a reverse mortgage of the Texas Midland Bank, the brothers seek revenge by robbing banks of that exact branch, planning to pay them back with their own money.
Whereas the premise of the film might not be the newest thing under the sun, the movie stands out through its characters, dialogue and specific atmosphere. For one, even though this movie takes place in modern times, you really get the old western vibes. There are deserted small towns, outlaws, cowboy hats, shoot-outs and even something resembling the old-school horse-ride-pursuit sequences. Its style sucks you right into the film. In addition, the characters are written in such a way that you understand and care about all of them, even when they are on opposing sides. Toby is a man who does wrong things for the right reasons. Tanner is quick-tempered (think Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas") and gets into trouble. But every now and then you can see that he loves his family very much, he just feels like his path is set and he can't escape it. Jeff Bridge's Hartigan has very hard shell, but you get more and more glimpses at the soft core underneath it as the movie progresses. His colleague Alberto (portrayed by Gil Birmingham) is an all around good guy, so much so, that he even expresses sympathy for the brothers they chase.
In fact, there is no bad guy in this film. At least not one of flesh and blood. The real villainous force in this film is the banks and a reprobate system that works at the expense of the common people. It is a phenomenon that strongly shapes the area the movie is set in, including all of its inhabitants, and the film really captures that very specific zeitgeist. As a result, the movie feels completely authentic and you can quickly empathize even with the smallest secondary characters.
The actors are all giving a hundred per cent across the board and especially Jeff Bridges gives a multi-layered performance that is simply excellent. Director David Mackenzie tops it all off with some marvelously composed shots, cleverly constructed sequences and a distinct dusty look. It is an atmospheric piece of cinema that finds a good balance between character exploration and action. Worth the ticket. Worth your time.

For Fans Of:
The Town (2010)
True Grit (2010)
Killing Them Softly (2014)
No Country For Old Men (2007)
The Place Beyond The Pines (2012)
Public Enemies (2009)
Money Monster (2016)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

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