Movie Review: Hell or High Water (2016)

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Neo-western, a genre that has me quite fascinated. For those that don’t know, a neo-western is a movie (or show, or book) that has the feel of a western, but is set in more modern times. A great example of a neo-western is my favorite tv show “Justified”, an action-drama about a modern day cowboy. And I’ve made it very clear time and time again on this blog that I’m a huge fan of westerns, which makes the neo-western genre even more interesting to me.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hell or High Water”.

Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are brothers. And together they are robbing a bunch of small banks in the state of Texas because they need money for reasons that I won’t get into, in case you don’t already know. But while the brothers are out and robbing these banks, a Texas ranger (Jeff Bridges) is trying to catch them, as one last big victory before his retirement. And from that we get a slowly burning heist thriller that grabbed me from the first first scene and held onto me for the entirety of the runtime. It’s a very plot that kept me invested in every scene. It’s a tense and dramatically investing plot that I absolutely loved.

What I appreciate about the characters in this movie is that they were given a lot of time. Like I said, it’s a slowly burning heist thriller, so we spend a lot of time getting to know these very interesting characters. Chris Pine really surprised me in this movie. I mean, I already liked him as an actor (“Star Trek”, yo!), but this is so different from the stuff I’ve seen him previously do. His performance is so subdued in comparison to what I’ve seen him in before, and I think he was fantastic here. Ben Foster, holy fuck, that guy was absolutely terrific in this movie, he really disappeared into his character, I didn’t recognize Foster, all I saw was his very unhinged character. Jeff Bridges was really good in the movie… there’s not much else to say here. We also had Gil Birmingham as Jeff Bridges’ partner in this movie, and he was really good too. Really, there were no bad performances in the movie at all.

The score for the movie was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, and the stuff they composed for this movie was pretty damn great. I thought the music they composed for “The Assassination of Jesse James”  was some of the best I ever heard, so when their names popped up in the openign credits of this movie I got excited… and that excitement was totally justified by the excellent music they had composed for this movie. There’s also a decent amount of country music in this movie, and I think it all fits the movie very well.

This movie was directed by David Mackenzie and wow, this was a very well directed movie. You can tell that the scenes here are deliberately slow paced, and it was pretty refreshing seeing that. So when violence/action finally happened it had more of an impact than if this would have been a straight-up action movie. not saying that a straight-up action movie would have been bad, I’m just praising this movie for being different. The cinematography is also gorgeous, and Taylor Sheridan’s writing is really solid. It’s a tightly made movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Hell or High Water” is an absolutely excellent heist-thriller. It features a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *GET ON THE GROUND!*. My final score for “Hell or High Water” is a 9,90/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Hell or High Water” is now completed.

Jeff Bridges with a mustache is one of the greatest things ever.

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5 thoughts on “Movie Review: Hell or High Water (2016)

  1. This was my top film of 2016. Everything worked for me from the cinematography, the score, the script, the performances and the direction. Can’t wait for it to come out on Bluray so I can experience it again!

  2. You know one of the things I appreciate about your movie reviews? You often point out the music, which is something I almost never pay attention to. You’ve taught me to listen more to the music and see how it fits with the narrative.

  3. Pingback: 2017 Academy Award Predictions | I See Movies

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