HELL OR HIGH WATER (2016)
Great modern day bank heist movie set against the gorgeous and grimy West Texas prairie.
Loved Ben Foster as the loose cannon criminal though bought less Chris Pines as his straight-edge-but-mastermind brother – maybe he was too pretty?
Jeff Bridges is always fun even if his growl is unintelligible half the time.
The scenic landscapes were great and the characters were unique and charismatic. Overall liked the story with a subtext of ‘the banks are killing America.’
The cinematography – while beautiful at times – felt a bit off to me. The exposure and colors seemed a bit harsh or imbalanced at times, but most vexing was unmotivated camera moves. I love a flow dolly in, but big dramatic dolly moves when the characters are having a conversation are distracting and unwarranted. It makes it seem like the filmmakers aren’t confident in the dialogue (and rightfully so, some of the dialogue feels a bit on the nose – like TV sitcom style “zingers”).
Fun energy and felt like a fresh take on bank heist, where our protagonists have specific goals – one’s in it for the outcome and one’s in it for the ride.
The shootout at the end was gripping and felt original – a stand off where everyone loses. Whether or not Ben Foster’s character would have made that choice is an open question – but portraying it as they did forces the audience to question ‘going out in a blaze’ not by circumstance but by choice. It’s something we see on the news everyday and as been normalized through exposure, if not fully understood.
Rich movie that was just shy of phenomenal – but still very very good.