By Jose Jara
HELL OR HIGH WATER
In Theaters August 26
Review by: Emmanuel Noisette
Chris Pine gets a chance to really show some range with his character. As the movie progresses, we get to see multiple sides of his personality and the factors that drive his motivation. If you think you’ve got his character completely figured out, a small twist will be thrown your way in just a couple of scenes. Furthermore, Ben Foster (who plays the older brother) assists in bringing the more rugged, and sometimes comical, element to the film. Both of the brothers’ chemistry is a strong point in this film as it’s displayed to have its own complexities.
Right off the bat you can probably get a good sense that this movie is a “Texan movie”. The atmosphere of the small town settings and even the type of people all seem to be captured perfectly. If you’ve never been to Texas, you’ll feel as though you at least know about it after watching this film.
When the movie did have some moments of action, they were pretty good. While they may not have been the most intense, they still helped to drive the story and keep you intrigued. My personal favorite was Ben Foster’s action sequence towards the end of the movie.
One issue that I had with this film was the one-sided, and lop-sided banter between Jeff Bridges and his partner played by Gil Birmingham. For me, I think that if there are going to be any type of insults or banter that crosses the politically correct line, then at the very least you’ve got to make it balanced. You can’t just have 10 jokes about one ethnic group, and maybe only 1 counter joke. While I can’t speak for them, I would probably feel some kind of a way if I were a Native American watching this film. I should also note, that I’m over Jeff Bridges’ incomprehensible southern drawl. At some points, it just becomes too distracting.
My other issue is the lack of focus in the attention or direction of the story. It felt like there was a bit of a duality in terms of where the movie was going. On one hand, the film wants you to care about the financial situation that the brothers are dealing with. On the other hand, we’re directed to focus on the various characters’ relationships and their development. It’s not that you get lost in either, I think that both aspects just kind of fought against the other a bit.
If you didn’t know, Hell or High Water is written by the same writer from Sicario (Taylor Sheridan). So you can imagine, if you’ve seen Sicario, a very similar vibe and pacing. I thought that Hell or High Water was a solid movie, but not a home run. I think it’ll most definitely appeal to people who enjoyed movies like the Big Short or Sicario. It’s well worth the watch, but for me, it’s more of a watch at home type of film. However, I don’t think there’d be much disappointment if someone were to watch it in the theaters for the matinee price either. Give it a go, if the trailer sparks your interest.
7/10 (matinee worthy)