Watch Hell or High Water
- 1 hr 42 min
Hell or High Water is a modern-day western crime thriller that follows two brothers, Toby and Tanner Howard, as they carry out a series of bank robberies across West Texas to pay off the mortgage on their family ranch. Chris Pine plays Toby, a divorced father struggling to keep the ranch from being foreclosed on by the bank, while Ben Foster plays Tanner, the wild and reckless brother who just got released from prison. Jeff Bridges stars as Marcus Hamilton, a grizzled Texas Ranger on the verge of retirement who takes on the case with his partner, Alberto Parker, played by Gil Birmingham. As the brothers hit more banks, the rangers close in on their trail, setting the stage for a tense and dramatic showdown. The film was directed by David Mackenzie and written by Taylor Sheridan, who previously wrote the acclaimed crime drama Sicario. Like Sicario, Hell or High Water is a slow-burning thriller that builds tension gradually over the course of the film. The opening scene establishes the film's stark and desolate setting, presenting West Texas as a land of abandoned towns and empty highways. The script is also full of sharp dialogue and dark humor, particularly in the banter between Hamilton and Parker as they debate race and politics. The performances are outstanding across the board, but Chris Pine and Ben Foster are particularly noteworthy as the Howard brothers. Pine delivers a surprisingly nuanced and understated performance as the reserved and desperate Toby, while Foster is magnetic as the impulsive and volatile Tanner. The chemistry between the two actors is palpable, and they make the viewer truly believe in the bond between these siblings who have been scarred by a difficult childhood. Jeff Bridges, meanwhile, is a joy to watch as always. His portrayal of Marcus Hamilton is both funny and tragic, a man who has spent his life chasing criminals and now finds himself at the end of his career with little to show for it. His relationship with Alberto Parker is also a highlight of the film, with Gil Birmingham providing a strong counterpoint to Bridges' grumpy old man routine. The film's visual style is also worth noting. David Mackenzie makes great use of the Texas landscape, presenting it as both beautiful and forbidding. The camera lingers on abandoned gas stations and rusty trucks, emphasizing the film's themes of economic decay and rustbelt poverty. The bank robberies themselves are also shot with a raw and gritty intensity, leaving the viewer feeling as though they are right in the middle of the action. In addition to its excellent performances and visual style, Hell or High Water also succeeds as a commentary on contemporary America. The film touches on issues such as banking fraud, the decline of the middle class, and the politics of rural vs urban areas. However, these themes are never heavy-handed or preachy, but rather woven into the fabric of the film in a natural and organic way. Overall, Hell or High Water is a masterful film that combines suspense, humor, and social commentary in a way that feels fresh and relevant. Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges all deliver standout performances, and the film's visuals and screenplay are equally impressive. David Mackenzie and Taylor Sheridan have created a modern-day western that will stand the test of time, both as a thrilling crime drama and as a commentary on the state of the nation in the 21st century.