In this simplistic modern Western, “Hell or High Water” shows off the strengths of Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster. Ben Foster and Chris Pine’s chemistry as brothers is very well done. They feel believable and play off well together as actors. They did a good job beginning in “The Finest Hours.” The cinematography is very well done. Great shots and usage of the camera to really help show the scale in such a small story. I appreciated the modern setting than putting this film in the 80’s or another previous decade to ground the picture.
Toby Howard: You got a gun on you, old man?
Old Man: You’re damn right I got a gun on me. Y’all going to steal my gun too?
Toby Howard: We ain’t stealing from you. We’re stealing from the bank.
Amongst the film’s many strengths is the character development. We get to spend a lot of time not only with the brothers but with Jeff Bridges’ character and his partner in the force. This film takes moments where characters just sit and talk to each other than not only move the story forward but also help us get to know the characters without there being over the top action or incoherent scenes of forced exposition. I applaud the filmmakers on the script and storytelling.
There’s not much I can say on the negative with the film. I would have liked a more definitive conclusion. A few things that I thought would happen did, but I felt the two main characters who were opposing never got to have their final conflict — only an acknowledgement of each other’s standpoints. Though I’m glad it doesn’t end like a typical western, I do appreciate that they tried to end it differently than expected.
I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who is interested in Western’s or Indie Cinema. One of the best films of the year bar none. Definitely a stand out from the summer movie selection.