Saturday, November 26, 2016

'Hell or High Water' Is a Perfect Neo-Western

Due to being somewhat similar in scope, themes, and impact on me, I’ll say that Hell or High Water is The Town of 2016.

Hell or High Water is a neo-western heist film about two brothers, Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner Howard (Ben Foster), who conduct a series of bank robberies in order to pay off the debt of their late mother’s ranch and prevent its foreclosure.  Assigned to catch them are two Texas Rangers – the smart, soon-to-retire Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), who intends to ride gloriously off into the sunset, and his half-Comanche partner, Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham).  As the Howard brothers draw near to their goal, they are set on the path of an inevitable showdown with the law.
This movie is essentially a perfect modern rendition of the traditional “lawmen vs. outlaws” setup of the western genre.  And it’s utterly rewarding – especially to those who have an affinity for western dramas, or have good cinematic tastes for that matter.

It has well-realized characters, brought to life by fantastic performances from the cast, and a very gripping, extremely well-paced story, which is steadily guided by masterful direction, captured by consistently gorgeous shots, and atmospherically enhanced by fitting country music.  The action sequences don’t go overboard to please action fans’ sensibilities, but are restrained and just appropriate to add the required layer of emotion that action has to provide to its rich, thoughtful narrative.

Hell or High Water, though generally overlooked, is easily one of 2016’s most memorable movies.

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