The problem with being heavily inspired by contemporary classics lies in the fact that the shoes are just too big and the footsteps too deep to fill. This is a problem that Hell of High Water faced and, unfortunately, failed to overcome although it does have its good moments. But until a truly good caper movie comes along, then it will suffice for the purpose of enjoying a good movie in an Empire theater.
With David Mackenzie, the director behind a few intriguing films like Young Adam, at the helm as well as Taylor Sheridan, of the highly acclaimed Sicario, with the pen, the film has high expectations from critics. While it may not have lived up to them, the strong performances from Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine save the day.
Noble Intentions, Ignoble Methods
Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are brothers who rob a remote Texas Midland Bank, their first attempt at a felony that shows in their initially bungling actions. But they soon get the hang of it after a few minutes although, surprisingly, they limit their haul to the money in the registers. They repeat the same crime in another Texas Midland bank branch albeit with smoother results.
What made the brothers commit such a crime? As many crimes go, there are plenty more than meets the eye – the brothers have a plan of revenge that will also make them hold on to their possessions. Apparently, the Texas Midland Bank has engaged in shady maneuvers resulting in their ranch’s foreclosure with the brother robbing the banks to get the money to pay off the amount and exact revenge at the same time.
Think of it as justifying the means for the end – noble intentions with ignoble methods. The movie, however, doesn’t dig deeper into the morals of the brothers and their actions because it’s an action movie more than a preachy dramatic one.
Strong Performances, Trying Too Hard Script
No Country For Old Men is a contemporary classic film and Hell or High Water liberally borrows from it with mixed results. Most times, it’s trying too hard but there are times when it hits just the right notes.
Fortunately, the actors deliver strong performances in their roles with particular focus on Pine and Bridges. Pine has just successfully come off as the modern Captain Kirk in Star Trek while Bridges is a legend in his own right – unless, of course, you count his very few mistakes including The Giver.
The verdict: Watch Hell or High Water for the action scenes especially at the beginning of the film and the strong performances from most of its actors.