Hell or High Water – 8/10

“I’ve been poor my whole life, like a disease passing from generation to generation. But not my boys, not anymore…”

Some movies are action movies and some are philosophical character studies. Occasionally a film will come along that is both. Hell or High Water combines both those things whilst also somehow being a heist movie, a revenge movie, a road movie and a buddy cop movie. Director David Mackenzie takes all these disparate elements to produce something that is satisfyingly whole.

Two brothers embark on a series of bank robberies in order to save their family’s ranch. Chris Pine plays the brains, Toby, while Ben Foster is Tanner, the wildcard and elder of the two brothers. Pine has never totally convinced me as an actor but he grows into the role nicely here. He is undoubtedly helped along the way however by the natural charisma of Foster and the convincing chemistry that they share. Jeff Bridges is the state trooper on their tail, taking on one last job before retirement, and somehow never allowing the character to become a cliche.

Like many of its characters, Hell or High Water is uncomplicated but it is also rewarding. The action sequences are high octane and thrilling but it is the more reflective scenes that really shine. Pine brings a quiet contemplation to Toby but it is Bridges who wins the day, comfortably stealing every scene in which he appears. Ben Foster is also good value which is interesting as I can’t remember seeing him in anything before. One to watch perhaps.

It’s pleasing to know that in a world that is obsessed with overcomplicating things and throwing money at mundane projects there is still room for a film like Hell or High Water. There is a lot to be said for a simple story told well.


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