A divorced father employs the help of his reckless ex-con older brother to rob a few banks so that he can raise enough money to save his family’s ranch. However shrewd detective Jeff Bridges is hot on their tail.
Much has been said about just how brilliant Hell or High Water is, and certainly from a visual stance it is breath-taking. It’s wonderfully shot and you know you’re in for a visual treat right from the very first shot. The film opens with a fantastically choreographed oner following the two brothers as they rob their first bank.
It’s also incredibly well acted. Chris Pine and Ben Foster shine as the two brothers and do genuinely seem like brothers. Jeff Bridges as always gives his all and is hard to understand. Unfortunately though this genuinely great acting work is undermined by a weak script. Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham’s friendship is most affected by this as the script can’t decide whether the two have only just met or have known each other for year. They simultaneously banter like old friends and have to ask the most basic character questions about each other.
The most irritating part of the weak scripting is that Hell or High Water becomes a film with no subtext – because it’s all just text. Anything that the plot hints at as being the themes a character will state head on. Throughout the movie there is given the impression that really the banks are the “bad guys” here, not our brotherly robbers, and it’s fairly obvious as subtext goes but even so Gil Birmingham will at one point state that Banks are the real crooks. And a movie that you thought was going to be an interesting awardsy movie that you had to think about becomes just another spoon feeding exercise.
But although the script isn’t actually very good the film itself still has a wonderful sweep to it and the violence is very realistic when it arrives.