Hell or High Water

Finally another decent movie has come along in 2016. The last film that I would have heartily recommended was Eye in the Sky. This summer has been a bust, so I was thankful for David Mackenzie’s perfectly paced Texan drama. It follows two pairs of men: Chris Pine and brother Ben Foster, who are robbing a series of Texas Midland banks, and Texan Rangers Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham pursuing them. Within both pairs there is dry, sparring humour and a believable basis for a relationship. All four play it perfectly, and the minor characters all add the right level of shade.

The story follows the bank robbers over the barren, post recession Texan landscape. Mackenzie doesn’t over-indulge this setting, although it is masterfully shot, nor does he play it for pure action. It isn’t pure Southern gothic, it’s played fairly straight without stylistic flourishes. It’s as much Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry as it is True Detective. I’m not sure it has that much to say about the human condition – it’s just a beautiful, thick slab of Americana.

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