If you were to throw Cormac McCarthy and The Big Short into a blender you’d get Hell or High Water, an enjoyable neo-Western set in Texas. The plot concerns two brothers—a former felon (Ben Foster) and a jobless divorcé (Chris Pine)—and their sort of fundraising campaign, through armed robbery, to prevent a foreclosure on their family property. Standing in their way is a gruff sheriff (Jeff Bridges) and his half-Comanche/half-Mexican deputy (Gil Birmingham), who spend half of the movie making fun of each other’s ethnicities and contemplating the tectonic shifts of society. Epic aerials, deserted streets, and seedy casinos lend the movie its doomy tone. Most of the action is shot steadily and spliced together without flashy cuts. Jeff Bridges is funny while Chris Pine gives maybe the performance of his career. Perhaps the best thing about the movie is its dialogue, which is laconic and poetic, like the dialogue in this year’s Mojave.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White