Hell or High Water Movie Review – Thumbs up! Way up!

Hey guys! Movies movies movies, it’s going to be hard to keep up with this because there are so many movies I want to write about. So many good ones out there! But here is another one I just saw over the weekend. And loved it. It’s called Hell or High Water directed by David Mackenzie, starring Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges. Everyone GO WATCH IT! Worth every minute. Watch the trailer:

~SPOILERS~

This movie is about a divorced father, Toby Howard (Chris Pine) and his ex-con older brother, Tanner Howard (Ben Foster), who resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas.

First and foremost. The performances of Chris Pine and Ben Foster are so great, it absolutely made the movie. And Jeff Bridges’ performance as the racist Texas Ranger who is near retirement was perfection.

Toby and Tanner turn to bank robbery in order to try and save the family ranch from being repossessed by the Texas Midland Banks after their mother passes away. Tanner, who is an ex-con and recently released from prison, was not knew to the life of crime and took to the robberies like any seasoned criminal would, but Toby was a lot more resistant and uneasy about the process and didn’t want anyone to get hurt during the heists. Regardless of the differences in personality traits of the two, they were loyal and dedicated brothers who would do anything for each other.

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Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) are assigned to the case and start to track them. Despite the seemingly amateur nature of the robberies, Tanner and Toby have a very specific strategy. They steal cash only from the cash drawers and in only small bills, no bundles or large bills. They rob 3 banks and then head to a casino and Tanner does some gambling with the cash they stole. When cashing out they get the majority of it put into a check to Texas Midland Bank.

The brothers then go meet with their lawyer who tell them they have to get $40,000 by Thursday to pay off the bank. By Friday, the bank will foreclose on the property. The lawyer agrees with the plan of them robbing Texas Midland branches and paying the bank back with its own money. He says that the bank greedily kept their mother in poverty so it could eventually seize the land for very little. He also recommends that the brothers used Texas Midland to manage the trust. The plan is meant to be fail-proof.

We then learn Toby’s utmost devotion to his two sons who live with his ex wife. He goes to tell his eldest son that he’s putting the ranch in their name and that they found oil on the land so they will be taken care of. But he also tells him, they will be hearing bad things about him and their uncle from people and from the news. And it will all be true. And not to ever be like them. We know that Toby isn’t just some crook, he knows what he’s doing is wrong. But he wanted his boys to have a good life, and get out of poverty.

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In the mean time, Marcus and Alberto are on their trail with a pretty good idea of the brothers’ plan but still not a clue as to their identities. Marcus is soon facing mandatory retirement and this is his one last case before he leaves. Jeff Bridges’ character, you learn early on, is quite racist and makes a lot of insulting comments towards his partner who is part Mexican and part Native American. Alberto never seems to react to Marcus’ negative comments even though some of the insults to get to him and you can see hurt in his eyes. But eventually you do get to see Marcus and Alberto finally start bonding, even among the insults and racism. You really get to see this is near the end of the movie.

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When things take a turn for the worst is when the brothers decide to hit a larger Texas Midland bank. It ends up being a lot busier than they expected with a lot of customers lined up at the tellers. They have to take a more aggressive approach to get people to co-operate and things end in blood shed. They are then chased out of town by locals shooting at them as they go. Toby gets shot. This is where things get difficult. Marcus and Alberto get the news and are now in hot pursuit of the brothers. Tanner makes the ultimate sacrifice and tells Toby to make a run for it while he distracts the cops he knows are coming for them. The next few scenes I can only describe as unnerving and nail biting as you hope for the best in a seemingly dead-end situation.

I don’t want to talk about the ending because words cannot do it justice. You have to watch it for yourself.

Things that stood out for me in this movie were 1. The movie very much portrays the “Justice isn’t a Crime” theory. It sheds light on how some banks tend to take advantage of people and can ultimately cause poverty and suffering with their greed. It shows us some truth to what people have to go through in small towns sometimes just to keep their head above water.

2. That there is always some good in people even when outward appearances seem to show otherwise. Tanner, although a trigger happy “career criminal” with a temper, loves his brother more than anything and puts himself in harms way to help him. You see his loyalty throughout the movie and in one of the many memorable scenes Toby says “You act like we aren’t gonna get away with this.” And Tanner says, “I don’t know anyone who’s gotten away with anything, ever.” Toby says, “then why the hell did you agree to do it?” And Tanner says, “Because you asked little brother.” That one scene in itself, says a lot about Tanner’s true character beneath all the grit.

3. The character depth in this movie is phenomenal. You truly get to know each person and genuinely feel a connection with all of them. I recommend this movie to anyone. It’s funny, it’s heart-wrenching, people can relate to it, it’s dramatic and intense. There is a little bit of everything in one splendid, well written, well acted film.

Props to all the actors, the cinematography, the directing and the beautiful score in the movie as well. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this film and hope you all will too!

All thoughts are welcome!

…Miss Blue…

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