Hell or High Water really crept up on me, having not seen a trailer until a couple of weeks ago, and I’m really glad it did. Hell or High Water might be quite a low key affair but it uses that to its advantage to tell a tight knit and captivating story of crime and justice.
Toby Howard (Chris Pine) is a divorced father who, along with his ex-con brother Tanner (Ben Foster), has plans to rob several branches of a small-scale bank for personal reasons. With his brother a bit of a wildcard, it isn’t long before Texan Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his partner, Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) are hot on their trail.
What becomes clear as Hell of High Water goes on is how much of a character driven film it really is, Taylor Sheridan’s writing really emphasising the bond of brotherhood and the friendship between partners in law enforcement. It helps massively when the film has four really strong performances at the fore.
This is easily the best performance I’ve seen from Chris Pine. I’ve only ever seen him in big blockbusters so it was nice to see him stray from his comfort zone ever so well. Ben Foster, who’s definitely one of the most understated actors working today, has the perfect amount of crazy in his eyes to suit him to his character so well.
Jeff Bridges is just one of those actors you know can deliver a great performance when he wants to and in Hell or High Water, he gives his best since True Grit in 2010, a very similar role when you think about it. Alongside Gil Birmingham, Bridges clearly enjoys the back and forth banter the two share, as did the audience.
Giles Nuttgens’ neat cinematography gives the film a silently beautiful backdrop for David Mackenzie’s tense and sparingly violent film to play out in. It’s a bit of a slow burner but it definitely doesn’t outstay its welcome, making every moment of its runtime count.