Starring: Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster
Directed By: David Mackenzie
Plot: Two brothers (Pine and Foster) rob a series of bans in order to save their family farm. They are tracked carefully by a Texas Ranger (Bridges) on the verge of retirement.
What Works: An excellent cat and mouse game with three incredibly strong performances. Chris Pine has literally never been better. Ben Foster, who has chalked up a handful of performances ignored by the Oscars, adds another to that list. He’s likely to be overlooked, yet again, in favor of Jeff Bridges, who turns in a pretty great, and very Jeff Bridges performance. It’s the kind of performance few actors can deliver convincingly, and he does it with style. There’s so much here to love. The cinematography is gorgeous. The script is great. The film is expertly paced and edited. It runs under two hours, and is an honest masterclass on making each moment matter. The score is terrific, giving a gritty edge to an already dark film. This is hands down one of the best films of the year, and a perfect new twist on the western genre.
What Doesn’t Work: I’d have to struggle to find something about this film I didn’t like. I honestly can’t come up with anything. The credits were super short? I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not, but it was something I noticed.
Final Word: An absolute must watch. There’s a reason an indie film from August is still very much in the Oscar conversation. It’s because the film is incredible, and definitively one of the best films of the year. If you like westerns, or cat-and-mouse style thrillers, then this is 100% up your alley. Featuring a trio of tremendous performances, Hell Or High Water demands to be watched.
Final Grade: A