Hell or High Water

Hell or High Water
Life in the gap crevasse where law parts ways with justice.Photo: CBS Films

5 Stars (Magnificent)Why I Saw It: Press screening, enjoy the cast, and hoping for a Qualifying Role from Ben Foster (and perhaps Jeff Bridges, though unlikely here).
What I Thought: Not for Foster or Bridges, but you know what – Chris Pine may just have made himself a Contender! A second viewing will confirm. Hands down easily one of the best of 2015, and of the Western genre in general. Back when conceiving Down in the Valley, writer/director David Jacobson remarked that Westerns always seem to be about the Old West, and he wanted to create a contemporary one (which he did very nicely); here again we see the modern west, the New West, in all its 21st-century layers. Playing the injustice of antiquity against its modern (and arguably karmic) form, Hell or High Water bounces gruff (and arguably backward) behavior against its mask of deep and abiding love, and boasts stellar execution at every level. Intense and nuanced, ethically complex, remarkably authentic, very likely timeless, it includes some purely elegant comic relief and a scene that will reign in glory forevermore alongside Five Easy Pieces’ side order of toast. Written by Taylor Sheridan, who penned the mighty Sicario (I guess I could have led with that and called it done. 😉 ). Update Dec 2016: At year’s end, it ended up as my pick for Best Picture.

Hell or High Water. Dir. David Mackenzie. Perf. Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katy Mixon, Margaret Bowman, Richard Christie, Dale Dickey, Taylor Sheridan. CBS Films, 2016.

Two brothers undertake a series of heists that perplex the Texas Ranger on their trail.   

Come listen to The Critics Circle on RadioBrave.comstar_animated-5x I shared my full opinion on The Critics Circle, which airs Saturday afternoons at 3:00pm Central Time over at Radio Brave, with rebroadcasts on Tuesday at 9:00am and Thursday at 5:00pm. It’s also available on demand via iTunes and Google Play Music (app & Web).

I’ll post a link to the replay once it becomes available, please check back soon!

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