Review: “Hell Or High Water” Is Easily Looked Over, but Shouldn’t Be



Title: Hell or High Water
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Posted September 23, 2016 by

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Much of the movie-going audience, if not all, decide whether or not they will see a movie based on the trailer. There are definitely movies that can’t, or don’t, show a whole lot when they release said trailer yet offer much more in their entirety: “Hell or High Water” is one of those movies. When I got my first glimpse of it my immediate thought was, “I’ll watch it because it has Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges, but I’m not sure I’m going to like it.” I was wrong. Definitely wrong. This movie boasts one of the stronger scripts, better acting, and more action than I would have ever thought and it would be a shame if you missed it.

Brothers Toby and Tanner (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) are amateur bank robbers that are trying to get together enough money to save their family farm. Armed with nothing more than pistols and a desire to get as much money as possible, they hit every Texas Midland Bank branch in the area, doing their best to not hurt anyone in the process. The problems begin when Tanner starts feeling invincible and goes against the plan; that’s when they get detectives Marcus Hamilton and Alberto Parker (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) hot on their trail and trying to get one step ahead. Where the tension of the film comes in is when I realized I was rooting for everyone involved yet I knew one side was going to have to lose. There was no scenario where both parties just shook hands, told each other good job, and went their separate ways. There was going to have to be a showdown and I couldn’t decide who I wanted to win. That’s a great problem to have as a viewer though because it just meant that the story was doing its job; it was getting me invested and there wasn’t a weak character in the group.

Writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) knows how to get the most out of his stories. While the premise of his films feel worn out and exhausted at first look, he’s somehow able to deliver a fresh take on it that makes it feel new all over again. He also creates these rich characters that are captivating and three dimensional. I’m under the impression that even if he didn’t put them in an interesting story, his characters are still strong enough that I would forgive the film for any of its shortcomings.

No matter what movie he’s in, Jeff Bridges has always been, and will always be, the man. That’s a give-in. What I’m more surprised by is that it feels like Ben Foster is one of the most underrated actors working today. Every role he does he knocks it out of the park and gives it so much more life than what was most likely on the page. I’m not sure how he’s not in every movie that comes out, but I wish he was. Chris Pine in this movie is able to shake of the defining role of Captain Kirk from the Star Trek films, but it took me a while to get over the fact that the good Captain was robbing banks. While he looks too pretty to be a rough and rugged cowboy who robs banks, his acting eventually won me over, but the distraction was there.

This movie will look like a slow drama in small clips, but there’s enough action and tension for fans of action films to get invested. While there was a small scene that felt like it slowed everything down, the pacing of “Hell Or High Water” is near flawless and by the end of it all you will wish there was more to see.





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