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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Hell Or High Water (2016)

Two brothers, a divorced father (Chris Pine) and an ex-con (Ben Foster), go on a bank robbing spree in West Texas with a soon to be retired Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) hot on their trail. David Mackenzie's black comedy owes most of its success to Taylor Sheridan's clever script which manages to appeal to both the conservative element that got Trump elected (it's heroes are the disenfranchised gun toting "white trash" that helped pave his way to the presidency) and the liberal faction that stands against the exploitation of the little man by corporations (in this case, banks) and since they can't side with the cop killers, their stand in is Bridges' Texas Ranger who provides the moral backbone to the film. Bridges is superb here but that's no surprise. The real surprise is Chris Pine who brings an unexpected depth to his conflicted good ol' boy. Alas, poor Ben Foster is stuck in a one dimensional role that isn't a recognizable human being but the creation of someone who's seen too many movies. But he tries, I'll give him that! The film borders pretentiousness with its obvious moralizing but I suppose without it, it's just SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT so I'm not complaining. Stunning work by the cinematographer Giles Nuttgens, among the best of the year. The casting director should get some sort of award, everyone looks like real people, not actors. With Gil Birmingham, Katy Mixon and Margaret Bowman, hilarious in her one scene as the aging waitress from Hell. 

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