Hell or Highwater is a modern-day western heist outlaw movie set in west Texas. The big bad bank is about to foreclose on the family ranch and two brothers come together with a plan to save the farm by robbing branches of that very bank of enough money to pay back the loan. The idea of the bank being the bigger criminal is not new. It’s the heart of plenty of outlaw stories, and songs too. For instance…..
Of course every story is an old story, though, isn’t it? What matters is what you do with it. This movie stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as the brothers, supported by an excellent performance by Jeff Bridges as the Texas Ranger after them. In fact the entire cast does a great job, including the cinematographer – Texas was never so beautiful nor so bleak.
The film was written by Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote Sicario, another excellent recent film.
I want to make special mention of the superb soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Here’s the track list for the film….
As I was watching Hell or High Water, it reminded me a little of another older modern day western film lodged somewhere deep in my memory and it took a day for me to think of what that film was – Rancho Deluxe, the 1975 cattle rustling flick which also starred Jeff Bridges along with Sam Waterson, Elizabeth Ashley and Slim Pickens as the aging detective who finds the rustlers. It might be very interesting to watch one of these films right after the other. Rancho had a great soundtrack too, featuring Jimmy Buffet.
I guess Hell or High Water is what you would call a genre film, but I don’t see that as a limitation. This movie has a lot going for it, and not the least of which is some very humourous bits that relieve the tension along the way.
Recommended. This may be my fave movie of the year so far. Just right, from script to performance to music to visuals.