Refreshingly original, brilliantly acted, thoughtful western/crime film (by rick-j-walsh)
In a summer or should that be year or decade of vapid sequels, remakes, and overblown superhero catastrophes, who would have expected an entertaining, intelligent, well-crafted, suspenseful, character- driven, modern-day western with a brain. Riding on Taylor Sheridan's razor-sharp script and David Mackenzie's nuanced direction, Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and especially Ben Foster along with everyone else who appears on the screen inhabit this film as wryly humorous, heartfelt, vicious, painfully tragic, and realistic members of a society reaping the fruits it has tragically <more>
You need to see this movie. That could be this entire review, but I think I should describe how amazing this film is. Unlike most summer movies, the writing is fantastic, keeping me and the rest of the people watching with me attached to the movie and its characters even when they are just talking in a diner or something. Also unlike most other summer movies, the movie does not attempt to create artificial tension in the form of fast cuts or stupid action scenes, it creates tension in the form of dialogue and sometimes in the form of brilliantly filmed action. It should be noted that the <more>
cinematography in this film is truly amazing. The cinematography captures the desolateness and sadness of the area of West Texas that the movie is set in. There are also many wide shots, which looked like they were filmed with drones which also added to the beauty of the filming. The music also adds to the western feel of this movie. The writing of this film is where it really shines. The writing is captivating and it is so natural, for the area. The banter between both pairs of characters the brothers and the rangers is very entertaining in that you can almost feel their relationship and the history of it. Also, I have to say, the writing for the side characters, who are only in the film for their respective scenes is even better. This is the first time I have ever cared about some random waitress who is only in the film for 90 seconds because their writing is masterful. Also, the acting is definitely some of the best I have seen, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges both really shine in the film because of their stunning acting. The acting helps in that when Chris Pine and Ben Foster are mid- heist you can really feel the stress when they get into situations that one or both of them are not comfortable with. In closing, this film has amazing writing, cinematography, acting, pacing, everything. This film is just beautiful and you really need to see it, like yesterday, it is easily the best film this year and a major contender for Best Picture, Best Director, etc.
The American western seems to be slowly making a comeback in recent years. With films such as The Rover, Slow West and True Grit there have been some interesting and unique approaches to this old genre. Hell or High Water fits right in with these mentioned films by containing a lot of comedy, engaging characters, and no holds barred violence. Chris Pine and Ben Foster as the bank-robbing brothers share great chemistry and draw sympathy from the audience with compelling performances. Jeff Bridges stands out however as the hardened cop tasked to track down the brothers. His racist slurs and <more>
aggravated man persona works perfectly with his gravely, yet genuine voice and he finds perfect timing in his comedic delivery. The music, done by Nick Cave is also perfect. After crafting one of the greatest scores with Assassination of Jesse James, he gets pretty close to that here with very foreboding and meditative music. Especially right before the big showdown. And when it all goes down, the film will have you on the edge of your seat. It doesn't hold anything back and people die out of nowhere. It's very realistic and is worth the tension filed build up.Hell or High Water is a surprisingly great American western. Hell or High Water 2016 Directed by: David Mackenzie Screenplay by: Taylor Sheridan Starring: Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster Run Time: 1 hour 42 minutes
Gritty and Engaging - Great Addition to the Crime Drama Genre! (by ehost7)
With Taylor Sheridan as the writer and David MacKenzie at the helm, I had high hopes for this movie. Both of their last respective projects Sheridan - Sicario, MacKenzie - Starred Up were gritty, violent, and engaging. All of those hold true for Hell or High Water.The main characters, Chris Pine and Ben Foster turn in great performances. Ben Foster plays the ex-con brother. And as usual, he turns in what I think was the best performance of the movie. He has a knack for playing a top notch supporting role, and often times gets overlooked. Chris Pine also nails it as the more straight laced <more>
brother. For a pretty boy of Hollywood, his portrayal is authentic. Jeff Bridges also compliments these two well as the older, sort of jaded officer. Both him and Foster even provide a good amount of laughs, but neither overdo it.The setting of the movie really sets it above others in the genre. I would say this movie is more crime/drama or heist film than Western, but it definitely has a Western vibe due to its northwest Texas setting. The area has been hit hard by the recession, a failing farm industry, and big oil. It all makes the recklessness and danger Foster and Pine engage in that much more enjoyable, and even sort of relatable. The audience can at least sympathize with them as they do what they think is right. Overall, this film is well worth a watch. It can be put in a league with more recent films like The Town, Drive, and The Place Beyond the Pines.
An Acting Clinic ... and a Great Film (by A_Different_Drummer)
Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine put on an acting clinic.Bridges at 66 has enough swagger, 'tude and testosterone to be an action figure.Pine, always reliable as a A-lister, takes his craft to a whole new level. He is as far from Captain Kirk as the earth is from the moon. Superb work. And unforgettable.The script is to die for. Intelligent to a degree that makes you wonder aloud how the constant stream of B and C movies out of Hollywood ever get funded. Solid from the first line of dialog to the last.West Texas is the unbilled co-star. You feel like you are there.One of the best releases of <more>
David Mackenzie's 'Hell or High Water' is A Terrific Movie, that turns out to be an unexpected delight of the Summer. With underwhelming superhero movies or reboots doing the rounds, this Heist/Crime Motion-Picture offers a Solid Story, that is Sharply Written, Expertly Directed & Very Strongly Acted. 'Hell or High Water' Synopsis: A divorced dad and his ex-con brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's farm in West Texas.'Hell or High Water' is a story of family & crime. You watch the 2 brothers rob banks, as they are tired of <more>
being poor & they indulge in aggression. And then you have Two Texas Rangers, after them, because they're wearing a uniform & they serve for the protection of the people. Its the difference of dynamics between its characters that make 'Hell or High Water' a solid watch. I wan engrossed by the camaraderie of the 4 characters, they are interesting to watch & hear. 'Hell or High Water' is perfectly paced, as the narrative hits the nail & culminates in a crisp 101-minutes. The film begins with a punch & ends on the very same note. I was thoroughly engrossed by the story & how well it progressed. Taylor Sheridan's Screenplay is Sharp. His Writing is tops, allowing us to get into the story & have an interesting experience. David Mackenzie's Direction is expertly done. He's handled the film, with command. Giles Nuttgens' Cinematography is fantastic. West Texas has been captured beautifully. Jake Roberts' Editing is crisp. Art & Costume Design are perfect. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis's Score is good. Action-Sequences are well-done, as well. Performance-Wise: 'Hell or High Water' is filled with superior performances. Jeff Bridges steals the show as the senior Texas ranger, who's sly sense of humor with his Indian partner a fabulous Gil Birmingham & skill to put things together & get to the criminals, is delightful. Bridges gets his character spot-on & proves once again, that he's among the Greatest we've ever had. As the 2-brothers who go on bank-robbing spree, Chris Pine & Ben Foster are in top-form. Pine is a revelation, delivering a mature, restrained performance, while Foster, an actor who's potential isn't new to know, continues to astonish, with his enviable talent for playing unpredictable, unlikable characters. Also, the on-screen chemistry between Pine & Foster, appears real & affecting.On the whole, 'Hell or High Water' is a Winner! Don't Miss It!
'Hell or High Water' is a bit of an odd duck. Mainly because it got a wide release. This is the only great film that has released in 2016 that got a wide release. I mean, there are only four or five films that I thought have been really great and all of them have either got basically no theater release or a limited viewing. I truly hope that this spurs more films like it though. More well crafted movies that actually have characters you can get invested in. There have been so many films this year that have completely failed due to poor character writing. Now, this film isn't <more>
perfect. So lets just get the negatives out of the way before we get into what makes this great.There aren't many problems here. The only big issue for me lies in the films story. It's really not that good. Once you step back to examine it, it's actually pretty by the numbers. If you've seen any heist movie ever than you probably know where this film is going. It follows a very standard formula that rarely deviates from it's by the numbers approach.But it wasn't until I took a step back that I noticed it. That's due to how well executed it is. It's one of those films that's so finely crafted that you don't really notice it's issues. That's what I loved about the film. It has such great characters that the familiar beats it hits actually feel genuine. Because you get to know these people and you feel like their choices matter to what's happening on screen.Which came as a breath of fresh air in a time when films have become so predictable and convenient. Our three main characters are played by Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and Ben Foster. Who were all at their very best for this movie. Foster was the weakest of all but when acting across from Bridges, is hard to really stand out. Yet, that is exactly what Chris Pine does. I have never seen him give this kind of performance.I'm glad to see him taking on nuanced roles that legitimately show his range. It felt almost like his performance in 'Z for Zachariah' but he's far more compelling to watch here. Which really adds to his character. He is the one that you have to feel for most. And his sad yet determined personality really pushed you through the film.On the other end, Ben fosters character introduced the most conflict to the film. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into his character much but the film respected him enough to not make him the bad guy. It's so easy to make a character like that the films bad guy but he never becomes that person. It respects its characters enough to make them humans with problems instead of saying this guys the bad one and this guy is the good one.And it's all shot and directed with the utter most care and effort. With nearly every shot you can feel the attention to detail and the work put into making this the way it is. It may not be Alejandro Inarritu levels of ingenuity but I loved seeing effort being put into making the film. It's very rare to see great directing and inventive cinematography in wide release films like this.'Hell or High Water' is rare breed. It's a great film that got a wide release. There is a lot of love and care put into this and it shows. It's well shot, directed nicely, has a solid score, is brilliantly acted, and offers excellent characters. This is definitely worth going out and seeing. That being said, It falls just short of being amazing. The story is pretty by the numbers and it's ending doesn't really seem to know what it wants to do. However, it remains a great film and is definitely worth supporting in theaters.
"Sometimes a blind pig finds a truffle" (by bob-the-movie-man)
Bank robberies have been featured in many hundreds of films since the early days of cinema: The Great Train Robbery for example dates back to 1903! More recent heist classics such as "Oceans 11", "Die Hard", "Run Lola Run" and "The Dark Knight Rises" tend towards the stylised end of the act. Where this film delivers interest is in aligning the protagonists' drivers with the banking and mortgage 'crimes' featured in last year's "The Big Short". Add in to the movie Nutribullet a soupçon of the West Texan setting from Arthur <more>
Penn's 1967 "Bonnie and Clyde", turn it on and you have "Hell or High Water".Chris Pine "Star Trek" and Ben Foster "Inferno", "The Program" play brothers Toby and Tanner Howard trying to rescue their deceased mother's ranch from being foreclosed on by Texas Midlands bank. Rather than taking one of the "get out of debt" offers advertised on billboards – cleverly and insistently introduced in long panning highway shots – the brothers have their own financial plan: a scheme that involves early morning raids of the cash drawers of small-town Texas Midlands branches. But the meticulous planning of Toby, as the calm and intelligent one, are constantly at risk of upset by the unpredictable and violent actions of the loose-cannon Tanner.Since the amounts of cash stolen are in the thousands rather than the millions, the FBI aren't interested and the case is handed instead by aged and grumpy Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton Jeff Bridges, "True Grit" and his partner Alberto Gil Birmingham . The pair have a respectful relationship but one built around racial banter, with Hamilton constantly referring to Alberto's Mexican/Comanche heritage. A cat and mouse game ensues with the lawmen staking out the most likely next hits. The sonorous cello strings of the soundtrack portend a dramatic finale, and we as viewers are not disappointed.The performances of the main leads are all excellent, with Chris Pine given the chance to show more acting chops than he has had chance to with his previous Kirk/Jack Ryan characters. His chemistry with Ben Foster is just sublime. Similarly, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham make for a formidable double act. It is Jeff Bridges though who has the standout performance and one that is Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor. In fact with Michael Shannon also getting nominated in the same category for "Nocturnal Animals", we can add 'West Texan lawman' to 'Holocaust movies' a Winslet "Extras" reference there! as the prime bait for Oscar nomination glory! The real winner here though is the whip-smart screenplay by Taylor Sheridan "Sicario" which sizzles with great lines: lines that make you grin inanely at the screen regularly through the running time."In your last days in the nursing home, you'll think of me and giggle" schmoozes Tanner to the pretty hotel check-in girl: a come-on clearly worth remembering as it delivers the goods, as it were.The trick here is in building up a degree of empathy and sympathy for the characters on both sides. The 'bad guys' here are successfully portrayed as the banks. Before the 2017 awards, you could get 25/1 odds on this winning the Best Original Screenplay Oscar – but I would personally rate it right up there with "Manchester by the Sea".Deftly directed by Scot David Mackenzie "Starred Up" this is a film the first of two! that might well have elbowed it's way into my Top 10 of 2016 if I'd seen it during its cinema release. Well worth catching on the small screen. For the graphical version of this review, please visit bob-the- movie-man.com .
Bonnie and Clyde for the Old Ranger (by ferguson-6)
Greetings again from the darkness. A good guy doing bad things for a good reason. A bad guy doing bad things for a good reason. A good guy whose make-up doesn't allow for bad things by anyone for any reason. Director David MacKenzie Starred Up and writer Taylor Sheridan Sicario serve up a quasi-western featuring a crusty old Texas Ranger doggedly pursuing two bank robbing brothers. If not for the numerous destroy-the-flow screaming political statements, this could have been a near instant classic – just a tick below No Country for Old Men.Chris Pine and Ben Foster play brothers Toby <more>
and Tanner Howard. Details eek out slowly about each most importantly that Toby is a divorced dad and Tanner is an ex-con. Toby has meticulously planned out their bank robbery spree. The goal is to save his family ranch so his boys can escape the "disease" of poverty. Tanner is along to support his brother and probably because he enjoys the adrenaline rush.Soon enough, Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton Jeff Bridges is on the trail of the boys, and his highly developed instincts and gut feelings annoy his partner Alberto Gil Birmingham almost as much as Marcus' incessant and insensitive racial teases – a reminder of the days when buddies would verbally jab each other without the risk of class action lawsuits.The performances are all excellent. Pine is the quiet guy resigned to a life without happiness, but refusing to give up on his boys. Foster is the wide-eyed trouble-maker who long ago realized he would always be one careless moment from the end. Bridges literally becomes the Ranger being forced into retirement age but intent on remaining somewhat relevant. Additional support work is also quite colorful in a west Texas kind of way. The wonderful Dale Dickey gets an early sequence with the boys, the great Buck Taylor is always a pleasant presence, Margaret Bowman adds yet another memorable character to her resume as the T-Bone waitress, and Katy Mixon "Eastbound and Down" gets to stand up for the little people.West Texas is a character unto itself with massive poverty, oil pumps on the horizon, dusty streets, rickety fences, and gun-toting citizens everywhere. Each of these elements is beautifully captured by cinematographer Giles Nuttgens Dom Hemingway , as are the actual bank robberies and the quiet moments between brothers and Rangers partners. To cap it off, Nick Cave and Warren Ellis add a nice score and even better soundtrack the best of which is an opening song from Townes Van Zandt.Mixed in with the impending gloom are some terrifically witty exchanges and some downright funny moments. Exceptional acting, a spot on setting, wonderful photography, and superb music are only slightly offset by the previously mentioned obnoxious and too obvious shots taken at big banks and oil companies. Sometimes a good story can be just that and not a political statement.