Directed by David Mackenzie
“Hell or High Water” is an absorbing crime thriller meticulously written by Taylor Sheridan, who also wrote “Sicario”, and brilliantly directed by David Mackenzie, a talented Scottish filmmaker who already had caught my attention two years ago with the prison crime drama “Starred Up”.
If the latter film, set in London, was based on real prison experiences, this new one, set in the torrid West Texas, is a fictional creation starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Jeff Bridges.
After the death of their mother, two brothers, Toby (Pine) and Tanner (Foster), believe they’ve nothing to lose, and start a series of bank robberies in order to save their family farm from foreclosure.
The brothers might have the same goal but are very different in nature.
Toby is smart and likes to plan everything ahead and carefully. His intention is to retrieve the family’s property, where recently was found oil, and guarantee the future of his estranged sons.
Tanner, the older brother, is an untamed ex-con with no real purpose in life rather than have some fun and make trouble wherever he passes by.
The men assigned to go after them are two Texas Rangers, also very distinct in character but fond of each other. While the unflappable Marcus Hamilton (Bridges), who is close to retirement, can’t think about anything else but his future, Alberto (Gil Birmingham) is a catholic Comanche who seems not to agree with the surveillance strategy designed by his experienced partner.
In addition to the phenomenal dark humor and gripping tension that accompanies the story since the very beginning, the film ends up in a furiously violent shootout by the end, when the two brothers split up to get away.
The trio of actors was remarkable in their performances, especially Bridges, who truly exposed the adrenaline of being on duty with the tiresome related to his age.
By joining the assertiveness of the direction, the perfectionism of the characters’ conception, and the astuteness of the storytelling, Mr. Mackenzie makes of “Hell or High Water” his best movie till date.
If you’re looking for a well-cooked noir crime story, go for this one. It’s ridiculously good!