Hell or High Water: Making Cinema Great Again
Today films aren’t made in the same way Hell or High Water is, so make sure you go and relish its rich cinematography, solid story, lavish characterisation and magnificent dialogue.
“We don’t steal from you, we steal from the bank.”
With the 21 st century depression hitting America hard, two estranged brothers have to reunite in the hope they can raise enough money to prevent the bank from repossessing their late mother’s farm.
Straight arrow Toby (Chris Pine) and his loose cannon brother who’s just out of jail (Ben Foster) decide the best way of raising the cash is by stealing from the very banks to whom they’re indebted.
“If this ain’t Texan, I don’t know what is.”
In a year that has seen blockbuster atrocities such as Suicide Squad plague our screens, Hell or High Water couldn’t have come at a better time to remind us that cinema can actually be great.
It takes you back to the 1940s and 1950s when grand and glorious Westerns such as High Noon dominated screens, a golden era for cinema.
The lush yet dirty Texan landscapes that look so exquisite and traditional bank robbery story may remind you of the classics, but this is a film very much set in the 21 st century.
Director David Mackenzie is clearly aware of what is happening in the world, with Trump, the banks and the depression, and this shapes the plot.
In fact modern America in crisis provides the perfect backdrop for a story about a desperate family trying to make things right.
Pine’s clean Toby and Foster’s chaotic Tanner may be brothers but their personalities are worlds apart.
This allows the actors, who both give outstanding performances, the opportunity to bounce off each other which draws the audience in.
Even though we know the characters are doing wrong, we understand the despairing circumstances they are in, you can see it in their haggard eyes, and actually will them to succeed in their plans.
Enter Jeff Bridges as Marcus Hamilton, a ranger due to retire but is after these robbers.
He, like the brothers, is also desperate and trying to do right in the world.
The grit and spirit Bridges gives his character reminds just what a brilliant actor he is and he is also there to provide some witty humour amidst the drama.
His relationship with his long-suffering partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham), is well played out and essential to giving Bridges tough cop a human side.
Sure, we have seen this story and characters a million times before but there are quite a few twists and shocks along that way that will leave you agape with horror and surprise.
And sometimes you just can’t beat a classic Western drama about bank robbers.
Yet Hell or High Water is so much more than that.
(Words by Emily Murray)