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Hell or High Water

(Left to right) Ben Foster and Chris Pine in HELL OR HIGH WATER. [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

(Left to right) Ben Foster and Chris Pine in HELL OR HIGH WATER. [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

*****

Crime/Drama/Quasi-Modern Western R-Rated

“Hell or High Water” is the real deal as far as a solid heist film that is reminiscent of the 1960s and early 1970s heist films such as the late director Michael Cimino’s heist film “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974) starring Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges. (Jeff Bridges stars in “Hell or High Water” as well.)

Taking place in sultry small-towns in Texas, towns that have seen better days, but are now just mere shadows of their former times. Picture perfect scenes ripe for a heist just waiting around the corner. Two men, Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine) Howard, brothers, rob the bank early in the morning when the first teller arrives for work. They are just beginning to go on a litany of bank robberies with Midland Texas Bank a main target.

While the duo is robbing bank after bank in torrid town after another, Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his Mexican Deputy Albert Parker (Gil Birmingham) are gathering information on the robbers. Marcus is near retirement, a kind of red-necked guy who in his odd way throws affectionate racist insults at his partner. Albert sometimes reminds his friend that the land they are currently living on was taken from them by the white man.

Tanner, the older brother recently out of prison, is unhinged, while Toby is the more reserved, sober, younger brother. The latter took care of their dying mother at their ranch which the Midland Texas Bank is about to foreclose. At least for Toby, he wants the money to pay off on the ranch so he can pay all the child support he owes his two estranged sons and his ex-wife.

Director David Mackenzie (“Young Adam” [2003], “Spread” [2009] and “Starred Up” [2015] and actor-screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (“Sicario” [2015], “Sons of Anarchy” [2008]) have made one of the best films of the year. Another movie similar to” Hell or High Water” in some ways (and different in others) is David Miller’s “Loney Are The Brave” (1962) starring Kirk Douglas, Gena Rowlands, Walter Matthau, Carrol O’Connor, Michael Kane and George Kennedy. “Lonely Are The Brave” is in black & white. Running time: 107 minutes.

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