3.Hell or High Water
I was in full support of this movie the moment I heard that Taylor Sheridan had written it. He had previously written Sicario, which the more I think about it, the higher it climbs on my favorite movies of 2015 list. His sophomore effort doesn’t disappoint (clearly… I wrote a number three by the title… 3 is good). That combined with music from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, Jeff Bridges, right in his comfort zone, and Ben Foster set to 11, there was little to go wrong. I’d not heard too much about the director, David Mackenzie, but after seeing this, I’d definitely like to check out his previous work . He’s a Scottish fellow, which seems like an odd choice to make a modern western that is steeped in American politics primarily focused on the financial collapse including shady bank practices (in a much more entertaining way than The Big Short). Maybe I’m wrong though, I am, after all, completely ignorant of global economics and maybe he’s the perfect choice. You know, Brexit and what not. Okay, still not sure what exactly happened with that, but celebrities I like don’t care for it, therefore neither do I. I, like most idiots, am easily swayed by pretty people. You had Spaghetti Westerns, but this can be the dawn of Haggis Westerns. Probably not, but the point is, the movie is great, he’s great, can’t wait to see whatever movie he makes in the future.
The biggest surprise of the movie for me was how exceptional Chris Pine was. I think he’s great as Kirk and my wife will vouch for him in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, but I’d never seen him do anything this subdued and understated. I’d underestimated him, I suppose, and now I feel like he could pretty much play anything at this point. I’m petitioning for Princess Diaries 3, except he plays the Julie Andrews role. He could do it. He’s that good in this. He’s quiet, stoic, and like many in this film, rocks a stellar mustache.
One of the most enjoyable things about the movie is how the script develops and portrays the central relationships of the story. Foster and Pine play anti-hero brothers who are robbing banks in order to buy back the land that was stolen from their mother by the banks they’re robbing. Brilliant, right? Chris Pine’s character has the moral justification for the bank robbing, Ben Foster has the “likes doing crazy shit”. Match made in heaven. The other primary relationship is Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham (yet another stellar performance in this film) who play the Texas Rangers in pursuit of Pine and Foster. The banter between the two really establishes the two have a long history together and provides some of the film’s great moments of levity from a very serious story. Some might consider the remarks from Bridges from to be harsh and a tad (a bunch) on the racist side, but it weirdly comes off from a place of love, like everybody’s Grandparents insisted they were doing. The kind of love you get when you have brothers… you know… insults.
So, absolutely see the movie. Please. Quit watching bad movies. Go see good ones. This is a good one. Go see it.