HELL OR HIGH WATER, starring Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster is a hit with critics and audiences alike. It’s a terrific movie about two brothers who rob small time banks in poverty stricken West Texas and two mismatched Texas Rangers who try to catch them. HELL OR HIGH WATER reminds me of the best films of the 1970’s with its smart, authentic and often witty script, creative direction, fantastic acting, plus an emotional resonance that stuck with me long after the final fade out.
Toby: I been poor my whole life; it’s like a disease, passing from generation to generation. But not my boys, not any more.
Chris Pine (best known for STAR TREK) plays a divorced father of two who took care of his mother in her final days and now is desperate to keep the bank from foreclosing on the family ranch.
So he and his ex-con brother Tanner, played by Ben Foster, begin stealing from small branches of the bank that intends to take over their land.
Toby: You know, you talk like we ain’t gonna get away with it.
Tanner: I never met nobody got away with anything ever. You?
Toby: Then why in the hell did you agree to do it?
Tanner: Cause you asked little brother.
Jeff Bridges is Marcus, a Texas Ranger on the verge of forced retirement. Gil Birmingham is his partner, Alberto.
Alberto: It’s reckless is what it is. It’s tweakers, I’m telling you.
Marcus: I don’t think these boys was reckless. Damn sure ain’t tweakers. They know exactly what they’re doing.
Gil: I don’t know how you’re gonna survive without someone to outsmart.
Toby plans the robberies, but Tanner is impulsive.
Tanner (running from a bank with arms full of cash): Start the car!
Go! Go! Go!
Toby: You wanna get us killed. Huh! That’s not in the plan.
The brothers don’t steal from the bank safes; they take only money from the clerks’ drawers that can’t be traced.
Marcus: They’re trying’ to raise a certain amount. That’s my guess and it’s gonna take a few banks to get there.
HELL OR HIGH WATER deals with ideas and situations we’ve seen in films before, but it gives us four rich characters and gets us to understand and sympathize with all of them.
Plus, it devotes entire scenes to authentic local characters that most movies would ignore.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org