Hell or High Water

"Excellent"

Hell or High Water Review


Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while grappling meaningfully with some very big topics. Set in present-day America, it's a story for today's social climate, but it feels like a classic Western in the way a pair of desperado bank robbers are pursued by a sly detective. It's also beautifully directed and skilfully acted to pull the audience all the way in.

In rural Texas, Tanner (Ben Foster) has just been released from prison when he agrees to help his brother Toby (Chris Pine) stage a series of small bank robberies to earn enough cash to guarantee a future for Toby's sons. Their mother has only recently died, and both are feeling a sense of pointlessness about life, willing to risk everything for a shot at something. But while Toby plans the heists carefully, Tanner is a hothead who continually attracts attention. Sure enough, Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges) catches their scent, working with his loyal but sarcastic partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham) to try to get one step ahead of the crimes. And since he's not looking forward to his impending retirement, Marcus is in no hurry.

Thankfully, director David Mackenzie (Starred Up) is in no hurry either, steadily building the suspense with each step in the story, keeping the focus tightly on the characters. This means that several scenes are breathlessly intense. There are so many intriguing things going on here that the film nearly bursts with resonance, from the old-versus-new world themes to the economic reality that has put Toby in this mess to begin with, and the corporate greed that's offering him a way out. Pine and Foster are perfectly cast in these roles, and both deliver layered performances that suggest at a more complex back-story than the one we learn. Opposite them, Bridges is the picture of calm, a terrific role that he seems to glide through effortlessly. But this is a carefully gauged performance that nails the tricky balance between tenacity, intelligence and grit.

Every scene bristles with comedy and suspense, and the atmosphere is further enhanced by a moody score and wonderfully evocative songs by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. These perfectly reflect the scorched-earth quality of this time and place, as life seems to have come off the rails, hope seems to have vanished, and it's worth trying anything that has even a small chance of succeeding. Which of course defines people so desperate that they'd consider shaking up the system by voting for someone like Donald Trump.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Hell Or High Water:



Hell or High Water

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th August 2016

Box Office USA: $3,551,931.00

Distributed by: Film 44

Production compaines: Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Film 44

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
Fresh: 134 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Carla Hacken, Julie Yorn

Starring: as Toby Howard, as Marcus Hamilton, as Tanner Howard, as Jenny Ann, as Elsie, as Billy Rayburn, as Alberto Parker, as Debbie Howard, Melanie Papalia as Emily (uncredited), Lora Martinez-Cunningham as Neighbor (uncredited), as Old Man, Amber Midthunder as Vernon Teller, Alma Sisneros as Clerk, Gregory Cruz as Bear, as Road Block Trooper, Crystal Gonzales as Woman at Casino (uncredited), J. Nathan Simmons as Casino Patron (uncredited), John-Paul Howard as Justin Howard, Ricky Lee as Casino Pit Boss (uncredited), Terry Dale Parks as Ranger (uncredited), Howard Ferguson Jr. as Vernon PD Officer, Debrianna Mansini as Vernon Diner Waitress, Martin Palmer as Colman Resident (uncredited), Christopher W. Garcia as Randy Howard, Danny Winn as Trooper Bruno (uncredited), Richard Beal as Casino Patron (uncredited), William Sterchi as Mr. Clauson, Taylor Sheridan as Cowboy

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.