Hell or High Water, 2016
Signed up the 25/04/2017
2017 Best Picture nominee, Hell or High Water is reminisced of a Western Coen Brothers classic. It follows brothers, divorced father Toby (Chris Pine) and ex-convict Tanner (Ben Foster) who rob banks around their tiny town in Texas, to make ends meet (for lack of a better description). They are trailed by an almost-retired sheriff Marcus (Jeff Bridges), whose last job is to track down and put an end to the brothers’ crimes, with the help of his partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham).
Hell or High Water is perfectly entertaining and beats your expectations because it’s not overly complicated. The storyline is straight forward and to the point. I love it because it does not run longer than it needs to. It’s an hour and a half long and you get everything you need from it in that time. It gets a lot done very quickly and it does it in the simplistic way possible. We don’t have to spend a lot of time listening to the characters go on about unnecessary things or give background to why they are where they are etc. which is not to say that their characters don’t have depth, but a lot of unwarranted information is discerned, although everything makes sense as the story progresses.
A lot of the films greatness, albeit a script plays a huge contribution, I think is owed to the director, David McKenzie, for his ability to take it as it was and turn it into a larger than life project that is easily one of the best movies of 2016. The director and his DoP and/or cinematographer gave us perfect long and high takes/shots, with a vivid and very modern uptake of a western noir film in the 2010s.
The acting is also effortless – it’s as though the characters just woke up and were in character. The acting and the accents didn’t seem forced, or that they had to do too much to get into it. A surprising Chris Pine, who’s one of Hollywood’s beloved heartthrob, played his role well, as well as the perfectly characterized Foster. I watched it several times and I can tell you, however controversial as it may be, that Jeff Bridges deserved that Oscar instead of Mahershela Ali for Moonlight. His acting in Moonlight was as simplistic as Jeff’s, but also very forgettable.
I don’t want to say a lot more without giving away the whole story because of how simple it is, however, it’s a must watch. No two ways about it.
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