Tuesday, 13 September 2016
'Hell or High Water' Review
Toby (Chris Pine) looks to create a better life for his son who lives with his ex-wife. He looks for the help of his short tempered, ex-convict brother Tanner (Ben Foster) as the pair set out to carry out a series of heists against the banks that are about to foreclose their families ranch. Standing in their way is Marcus (Jeff Bridges), a Texas Ranger who is close to retirement but is still looking for that last top case. As the brothers set out to carry out the final heist, they will have to come against the law like never before as Marcus isn't ready to bow out just yet.
Chris Pine and Ben Foster shine as The Howard Brothers who look to make the bank pay for their unfair debts set by the banks themselves. Pine plays the younger brother Toby who looks to create a better life for his son and sees this as the best way possible. He is a lot calmer than his hot head brother as well as much smarter which allows him to carefully plan their attacks on the bank. Foster plays Tanner, an ex-convict and is much more of a loose cannon compared to his brother. Tanner is ruthless and will use fear to get the job done at any means necessary. The pair are perfect for each other as they compliment each others weaknesses, allowing them to be a very effective duo. The relationship between the two is shown incredibly well as at times they might not like what they are doing and judge each others actions, but overall understand that it was for the best intentions. There is a true bond you feel between the two as Pine and Foster show this phenomenally well.
Jeff Bridges stands in the way of the troublesome duo as Marcus, a near retiree who looks to crack one last case before riding out into the sunset. Alongside him is his partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) who is often the butt of Marcus' jokes as we get a sense of comradery as they stand for what is right. Bridges stands out showing why he is still considered as one of Hollywood's best as he looks to try to think one step ahead to anticipate the next move of their targets. A lot of his work consists of Bridges just talking but the dialogue is solid throughout allowing him to excel. There are only four main characters throughout the movie but all of the supporting characters do incredibly well. Everyone plays their part and even to the smallest of characters, they really deliver. This all combines to make the feeling even more realistic.
The art of dialogue is most definitely on show here as it combines with the terrific performances to create an authentic Western feeling. The dialogue doesn't seem generic or cheesy as those involved deliver them very well. Through a lot of the film, it is a lot of talking which may put some people off. However, the dialogue is so intriguing and relevant to either the story or characters that it grabs your attention at all times. Everything said is either entertaining or useful to what is going on or learning about the intriguing characters. The writing is very clever with how it sprays out humour in the film as well in what turns out to be surprisingly funny. It never goes overboard but the relationship between the brothers and partners allows there to be funny moments spread throughout the movie, adding to the feeling of comradery once again.
With the film setting up two tag teams against each other, you'd be surprised to see that only Pine and Bridges interact with each other at the very end of the film. This may seem odd but it works perfectly as the relationships and the cat and mouse chase makes the finale much more impactful. If you're looking for close encounters between the two sets then you will be disappointed but the film delivers on so many levels that it does not need to do so. It's Coen Brothers esque with the likes of 'No Country For Old Men' baring close similarities to how this film is set up and it really delivers. The film is beautifully structured as it showcases what the brothers are up to early on and builds up slowly but effictively.
The story overall is fairly morally complex. You know that what the Howard brothers are doing is wrong and that they shouldn't be able to carry out these acts. However, I feel a lot of people could relate to the fact that they are scrambling to make funds and with an added incentive against the bank, you kinda root for them to succeed. Toby clearly wants to create a better life for his family which adds onto it as well. Tanner doesn't really have much of a reasoning other than the adrenaline but there's just something about him that you respect and what him to succeed as well. However, you are never against Marcus as the lawman looks to bow out with one last victory. His partnership with Alberto as well as his near retirement make you want to root for him as well. This all combines fantastically to the final act which is full of tension where you don't know what is going to happen.
Overall, 'Hell or High Water' really deserves all of the praise that it is receiving. One of the best movies of the year which you should check out immediately. The story was expertly executed as the performances are all fantastic. You don't want to miss this one and I really hope it gets more recognition, potentially even around Oscar season.
Final Verdict =
So have you seen 'Hell or High Water'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie! I cannot stress enough that you should go out and see this one! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!
By Angus McGregor