Brothers on the run
There's an old saying that goes "A cornered rat will bite the cat." The meaning behind that little idiom is that in times of desperation, a being will revert to committing acts outside their normalcy to ensure their own survival. In Hell or High Water, unemployed Toby (Chris Pine) and his older ex-convict brother Tanner (Ben Foster), in an effort to save their recently deceased mother's ranch from being forfeited to the bank, hit and rob banks in order to raise enough money to pay off the reverse mortgage. Their back-to-back robberies catches the attention of Texas Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges) who pursues the brothers and learns their pattern to foil their next robbery. Toby's anxiety and Tanner's violent recklessness only leads the two further down a road that they can never come back from, as well as into the crosshairs of Marcus. Modernizing the Western genre has to be something that isn't easily accomplished because you don't see many films like Hell or High Water and you seldom ever see them done so well. Director David Mackenzie captures the essence of the West in both its' scenery and characters thanks to a great script by writer Taylor Sheridan and the impressive chemistry between Ben and Chris. The film isn't afraid of moving at a slow pace, which is a good thing because this helps build and develop the characters more fluidly; at the same time, it changes the good guy/bad guy dynamic in an interesting way. Ben's character is a former criminal who did his time and was just released from prison but is willing to risk his life to help his brother out, whereas Chris' character has never done anything bad his whole life; even staying with the brothers' mother in her final days. However, he resorts to robbery, even asking his brother to help him pull off the dangerous heights. The film doesn't condone what the brothers are doing but it doesn't condemn them either, instead letting us as the viewer to decide the morality of their actions. In summation, Hell or High Water is exemplary tale of brotherhood as well as a brilliant character study of what causes good people to do bad things. In the end, you get a brilliant modern western with a story that leaves you thinking long after watching. Hell or High Water gets my highest recommendation.