Hell or High Water Review By: Sean Harrison

Directed by David Mackenzie, “Hell or High Water” may be the biggest surprise of the summer.  Beyond that, it is a heist movie set in rural west Texas with a script that was blacklisted in 2012.  For those that don’t know, that means the screenplay was—at the time—considered to be one of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.  Anyway, the movie stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as a pair of sibling bank robbers with Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham as the Texas Rangers working on the case.

Speaking of which, the plot begins with the brothers robbing a pair of banks.  Afterwards, they bury their car and then use another car to drive the money towards Las Vegas so they can use gambling as an excuse for where the money came from.  The older brother is revealed to be an ex-con; however, the younger brother doesn’t have a criminal record at all.  Shortly after, the case comes across the desk of a Texas Ranger who is close to retirement.  Though this movie is not a cut and dry good guy/bad guy movie.  The brothers are focusing on only one bank, the Texas Midland Bank.  The bank in question is going to foreclose on the younger brother’s ranch (where they recently discovered oil).  There reasons, however, are more honorable than simple greed.  The plan is to pay off the ranch so the younger brother can leave it to his ex-wife and kids.  This way, his children will not have to grow up poor the way he did.  Though his story does not have a perfectly happy ending.  His brother ultimately becomes the fall guy.  In other words, he sacrifices himself by leading the police in to a shootout (that involves the death of one the Texas Rangers) and letting his younger brother get away.  As a result, both the surviving Texas Ranger and the younger brother are forced to live with the consequences of their actions.

Overall I felt this movie was brilliant, easily the best movie I’ve seen in theaters since “the Revenant” on January 8.  Easily, the best thing about the movie may be the script though.  I can see why it was blacklisted, because the dialogue was absolutely brilliant.  And on many occasions, it was hilarious.  In addition, it was nice to see a heist movie that chose not to rely on gun violence.  Instead, the movie focused on character development.  The report between the characters further highlighted the strengths of the script.

In addition, there really isn’t anything I didn’t like about the movie because—like I said—this is probably the biggest surprise of the summer.

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