Hell or High Water(2016)
Justice isn't a crime.
Chris Pine (Star Trek), Ben Foster (The Program) and Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges lead this contemporary Texan bank-robbing thriller. From the director of Starred Up and the writer of Sicario.... More
A story about the collision of the Old and New West, two brothers — Toby (Pine), a straight-living, divorced father trying to make a better life for his son; and Tanner (Foster), a short-tempered ex-con with a loose trigger finger — come together to rob branch after branch of the bank that is foreclosing on their family land. The hold-ups are part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that powerful forces beyond their control have stolen from under their feet.
Vengeance seems to be theirs until they find themselves in the crosshairs of a relentless Texas Ranger (Bridges) looking for one last triumph on the eve of his retirement. A showdown looms at the crossroads where the last honest law man and a pair of brothers with nothing to live for, except family, collide.Hide
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BY Aaron Yap Flicks Writer
Coming off like a Southern-fried Coen Brothers noir minus the suffocating nihilism, David Mackenzie’s ninth feature functions impressively on multiple levels. It’s a rustic, poignant tale of brotherhood, sacrifice and redemption. It’s a sobering elegy for the economically dispossessed - think 99 Homes in boot spurs and a cowboy hat. It’s also the sort of tight, terse, old-school crime drama one can imagine Don Siegel cranking out in the '70s. Whichever way you slice it, it’s a darn good flick.... More
Working from a punchy, sharply character-driven script by Sicario’s Taylor Sheridan, Mackenzie, a Scotsman, exhibits a discerning eye for the film’s crumbling small towns: the billboards promising “debt relief”, the jaded, downtrodden farmers, the air of desolation and abandonment that permeates the ghostly, tumbleweed-ridden streets. He also coaxes finely tuned performances out of Chris Pine and Ben Foster, who’re better here together as bank-robbing siblings than they’ve ever been alone in other films. The latter finds an outlet for his hair-trigger intensity that’s, for once, infused with a smidgen of warmth, while the former wears the archetype of the laconic, quietly desperate cowboy with ease.
It’d be hard to go without a mention of Jeff Bridges, whose pudgy, gently ribbing Texas ranger is smartly tailored around his seasoned stature and provides a source for much of the film’s hearty humour. Hell or High Water is a mightily lean work, but rich in brittle intimacy, karmic irony and moral ambiguity. It’s one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.Hide
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Hell or High Water
BY cinemusefilm superstar
The... More story hinges on the pursuits of two brothers who rob several banks in the wild west of Texas. Toby (Chris Pine) is the likeable one who wants to save his farm from mortgage foreclosure by a bank that still feeds off the sub-prime loan fiasco. Recently out of prison and far from likeable, his brother Tanner (Ben Foster) is erratic after years of pent-up violence. As opposites they represent the yin and yang of capitalism, set against dystopian landscapes of rusting cars, abandoned houses and poverty, beyond which are desert-scapes still beautiful despite human presence. Their fox-smart nemesis is a Texas Ranger called Marcus (Jeff Bridges) who is about to retire and wants to snare one more before handing in his badge.
In many ways, the details of the robbing and running play second fiddle to the bigger picture that is painted in this film. Seeing the two modern-day Robin Hoods exacting revenge on the system that causes so much injustice and pain is an innately satisfying spectacle. Except for Tanner’s violent tendencies, their crimes are victimless once we accept the premise that banks are evil. Several other narrative strands weave the larger story about today’s wild west. Marcus has a part-Comanche deputy called Alberto (Gil Birmingham) whom he mercilessly teases on racial lines in a nasty throwback to white supremacy. It is hard to miss the bitter irony of former Indian land stolen by cowboys that is now stolen by banks, a twist that leads us inexorably to side with the bank-robbing brothers.
Outstanding cinematography and fine acting performances are the film’s great strengths. Portrait-like framing shifts seamlessly from wide panoptic views to close-ups of craggy age-lines and worried glances, all in a colour palette that glows like desert skies. The storyline has varied pacing that captures both the slow clock of desert living and the danger of life on the run. The principal actors are cast perfectly and bring authenticity and nuance to their roles. This is a visually engaging and thematically rich film with an unexpectedly enigmatic ending. It will undoubtedly find a place among the nominations for this year’s best.Hide
BY filmlover superstar
BY elderino006 lister
The reason behind the robberies gets deeper and deeper as the film progresses, and that's what really works. It's a film that feels a lot like a western, with the cowboy get ups, small towns and let's not forget the Nick Cave soundtrack. On the other hand, this is so relevant to the now. The hardships of small town American and the financial... More crisis hitting so many lives.
This is about The System knocking people down, trying to get their grubby little claws over anything they can, no matter the lives they affect. But everyone has a breaking point, even good people.
All three actors are on top top form. Probably the best Chris Pine performance to date. Bridges and Foster are also superb!Hide
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