Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hell or High Water

          In today's hard economic times, two Texas brothers decide to rob branches of the bank that hold the mortgage to their mother's ranch. On their trail is a pair of Texas Rangers, one, days way from retirement. It's a simple story that we've seen variations of in the past but everything about this film works beautifully. Written by Taylor Sheridan and directed by David MacKenzie, this little crime drama is a near perfect film. 

         The script has a lot to say about these rough times, especially in small towns across America. It's familiar territory but unexpected moments of humor and violence mix things up and the outcome is never certain. There is never a false note in the dialog. Mr. MacKenzie's direction, along with the beautiful cinematography paint amazing pictures across the bleak Texas landscape. You can feel the dust in your face, the heat on your skin and the cold beer in your mouth throughout the film. I also can't say enough of the original music by Nick Cave and the terrific soundtrack that blends perfectly into the story.

          Playing the brothers are Ben Foster, who makes a living playing hard nosed psychopaths with just enough of a tender side to surprise you and Chris Pine who breaks his own image with a character dirty and gritty in his desperation and determination. The Texas Rangers are played by a brilliant Jeff Bridges, who slips into his character like a well worn second skin and Gil Birmingham, as his partner Alberto, who matches Mr. Bridges step by step. Their chemistry together is just wonderful to watch.

         The film takes it's time to tell it's story and some may feel it's too slow but the deliberate pace slows things down just enough to savor the little moments in this terrific crime noir.

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