Hell or High Water
Directed by David Mackenzie

Written by Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Chris Pine, Ben Foster,  Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham

Hell or High Water makes a good case for the notion that a Western can be as relevant today as ever. Several times I had to remind myself that it was a contemporary film because west Texas looks much the same as it did in The Last Picture Show. And it nearly looks the same as fifty years earlier. Poor, dusty, desolate, and yet a good cinematographer (Giles Nuttgens ) can find beauty in it.

Toby and Tanner (Pine and Foster) have been separated for years by Tanner’s jail sentence. On his release, they team up to try and save the family’s farm from being siphoned off by the bank. Who likes banks nowadays so it only seems fair that they get the money by robbing branches of that bank. Inept bank robbers, they manage somehow to get close to the amount they need through some clever maneuvers on Toby’s part.

What they didn’t count on, however, was drawing the attention of a retiring Texas ranger played by Jeff Bridges. He and his partner (Birmingham) make outsmarting the brothers their last joint case.

This is pretty near a perfect movie. If I had to find any fault with it, it would be an explanation of what Toby was doing (other than caring for a dying mother) for the years his brother was gone. But other than that fairly insignificant question, we get a terrific script, great acting and direction, wonderful music and the beauty in a place that has none. Highly recommended.

Patti Abbott