Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Film Review: Hell or High Water

Crafted by the same writer as the movie Sicario this film has a similar location in the American Southwest though involves a different set of troubles.

Instead of the grey areas created by the drug trade washing over the Mexican/American boarder, here we have the grey areas created by the banking industry and those white Americans who have been left behind by the progress of time and innovation.

These are Trump's voters as the main characters on both sides of your traditional good guy/bad guy divide don't care for authority or they way they've been told things should be.  Both the police and the Texas men trying to steal their way to the saving of their mother's home from foreclosure are relics of a bygone era and overlooked by their government and society--but not their families, friends and communities whose bonds remain those that bind.

The film itself ends up feeling like one of those cowboy films where the first cars show up and appear so jarring compared to the more manual world they invade.  You can just sense things are going to end badly for the cowboy as his time has come and gone.  Its the same way here.  The protagonists are doomed from the start as leftovers from another time.

Jeff Bridges is great as a crass, vulgar and extremely un-politically correct police officer chasing down the bank robbing brothers portrayed by Chris Pine and Ben Foster.  Foster is again brilliant.  I don't know if I've seen him in a role yet that I haven't loved.  Chris Pine of course plays the handsome, "better" of the two brothers and puts in a fine performance, with his best work present when he doesn't have to share the screen with Foster who seems to suck the air out of every scene for his own.

I don't know if it "revitalizes" the Western as much of the story could be considered familiar but its the dialogue, performances and attacks on modern rural America that make it worth seeing.  It won't win much if anything at the upcoming Oscars, but that doesn't matter, you will remember it long after the glitzier, shallower works that will win the awards.

Scale of 1-10?  A solid 8

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