Hell or High Water (2016)
Why We Love This Scene: A beautifully shot and nicely acted neo-western starring Ben Foster and Chris Pine as two brothers with a plan to rob as many Texas Midland Banks before the bank forecloses on their ranch. Hot on their tale is Jeff Bridges (in an Oscar-nominated role) as a grizzled lawman who desperately wants to end his long career with catching these bad guys.
This movie is incredibly well done. The camera-work alone is fantastic. A barely recognizable Ben Foster continues to amaze me in every new role he’s in. Bridges shines as the old un-PC law dog who loves to tease his religious, half-Mexican, Half-Native American partner. The scenes with them bickering give the high-octane and somewhat ham-fisted rural-American plight social commentary film much needed comic relief.
The only thing I can say negatively about the film is that it feels like the middle of a story without a real beginning or end. I won’t go into how the film ends to keep this post spoiler-free but the film starts with the scene I’m highlighting, which is a fantastic opening to a film, mind you. However, it takes a while to know the motivation for the brothers’ plans. And I may have missed it, but Ben Foster’s character’s motivation for helping his brother is left unclear, other than to just help him rob banks. But since Foster is already an ex-con and used to a life of crime, he is mainly the one in charge (and also the loose-cannon). Pine is the reluctant criminal and very uneasy with his nefarious doings. Seems Foster, is just looking after his brother to make sure his plan works. But that leaves Foster with no real character arc to care about. I also question where the boys are getting all their getaway cars. After every bank robbery they go out into a undisclosed location and bury the cars with a bulldozer. They do this several times and it’s a brilliant plan but I don’t recall them explaining where they get each new vehicle. Minor nitpick but I really should watch it again just in case I missed it.
But otherwise, this a fantastic little flick with an engaging story that is both harsh and satisfying with the duality of the “heroics” of the brothers misdeeds. It also has colorful characters throughout, a great musical score and top-notch cinematography. I highly recommend this crime thriller western.