I've often said I'm extremely impressionable when it comes to movies. After watching Inside Man I was certain I could rob a bank, and "Hell or High Water" pretty much just reinforced my belief.

Two brothers are in the midst of a bank-robbing spree, hitting different branches of the same bank. Two veteran Texas Rangers are assigned to the case, and the hunt goes on across the vast deserted landscapes of west Texas. Toby and Tanner (Chris Pine & Ben Foster) have set a plan in motion to steal enough money to pay off the reverse mortgage on their family's ranch, but the erratic behavior of ex-con Tanner threaten the whole operation. The brothers do have an end-game in mind, but as the rangers (Jeff Bridges & Gil Birmingham) get closer, things get dangerously close to falling apart completely.

I loved this movie. Flat-out loved it. A crime drama thrown into a western setting, with a great script, interesting and well-developed characters, beautiful cinematography, and outstanding acting, it all adds up wonderfully. I've been a big Ben Foster fan since his "Six Feet Under" days, and Jeff Bridges has never disappointed me. I was a bit iffy on Chris Pine trying the "pretty boy plays a dirty role", but he was impressive. Also of note is how often I laughed, considering the grim premise and violence that filled most of the movie. There wasn't necessarily "comic relief", but the script had plenty of humorous back-and-forths between the brothers and between the rangers.

I know that "gritty" has become something of a cliche when describing movies, but it's a perfect descriptor for this. Everything had a layer of grime on it, from the faded clothes to the unshaven faces to the dusty highways. Add in the timely attacks on the banking system and how it is designed to screw the common person, it all works together to create something I definitely want to watch again.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "Hell or High Water" a 10 out of 10.




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