August 18, 2016 at 10:06 am #1201909893
I saw Hell or High Water the other night at an advanced screening and it was much better than I expected. I didn’t know much about the film beforehand, so I found the story to be engaging and suspenseful.
Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and Ben Foster were all good, but Bridges stood out the most to me. It was nice seeing Pine play a role that wasn’t sarcastic and allowed him to display his range.
It’s written by screenwriter for Sicario, so I’m wondering if it will gain some interest from those who liked that film (I personally enjoyed this movie more than Sicario).
Has anyone else seen this movie yet? I wouldn’t mind seeing Bridges nominated for some awards, personally.
Thoughts?August 18, 2016 at 11:24 am #1201909959
I think this will get Oscar nominations. Many are dismissing it now but they’ll be surprised when they see getting nominations at critics choice and other awards.August 18, 2016 at 2:55 pm #1201910060
The reviews are stellar, with 88 on Metacritic. This could be a real dark-horse contender, and Bridges will surely be in the conversation for supporting actor.August 18, 2016 at 4:39 pm #1201910098
I really hope this film gets an audience and isn’t forgotten. The reviews are pretty fantastic – not just “Oscar season impressed”, but passionate.
I find it a bit strange, though, that so many critics are surprised that Chris Pine can act. Don’t they watch – films?August 18, 2016 at 5:27 pm #1201910119
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but from what I hear it’s quality enough to get into some categories. But they’ll need to have a good campaign to keep it from being forgotten. These types of movies can slip through the cracks if they aren’t kept fresh on voters’ minds.August 18, 2016 at 11:34 pm #1201910370
Only time can designate a masterpiece. I am betting on Hell or High Water.
Perfect films convince us that we are immersed in a world, a community, a culture, a vivid experience that transplants us from our daily existence to something else.
To Kill a Mockingbird did it. Viewers then and now feel we are in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s. I remember a trip to the South years ago, and my fruitless search to visit Maycomb. I was astonished to find out the town didn’t exist. It never had. The surprise that this place was a creation of movie magic seemed incomprehensible.
Hell or High Water achieves that truth throughout the film. There is a scene in a steakhouse. Two Texas rangers are ordering a meal. Their server is an aging white woman. She takes no nonsense. The astonishment on the officers’ faces feels entirely genuine. Even now when I am reflecting on the film, I must remind myself that this scene was scripted, storyboarded, acted and edited. Character actress Margaret Bowman deserves an accolade here for her memorable cameo in a film of exemplary performances.
Perfect films have no true evil and no true good. Every character is shaded. Every situation has a myriad of complexities that challenge the viewer’s sense of social justice.
Dead Man Walking did it. Viewers then and now struggle with the moral ambiguity of the State providing Matthew Poncelet a lethal injection for the murder of a young couple. Sister Helen Prejean takes a special interest in this. As a spiritual advisor to Poncelet, she attempts to have his execution commuted and work with the victims’ families to find a sense of peace. The film ends without resolution on the issue of capital punishment.
Hell or High Water challenges the audience to address the moral ambiguity of two brothers, one peaceful and one violent, who fight faceless corporate greed and the threat of abject poverty while committing heinous acts. When a beloved character is murdered, we are again challenged to assess our allegiances. This inner turmoil continues to the very last frame of film.
Both To Kill a Mockingbird and Dead Man Walking enjoyed Oscar celebrated efforts by its actors, screenwriters and directors. I am hopeful Hell or High Water will as well.
Whether honored or snubbed by Oscar, this is a must see film.August 19, 2016 at 7:02 am #1201910471
Thanks, OnTheAisle, a lovely read!August 26, 2016 at 8:29 am #1201913774
Mind if I take a moment to gush over the unimpeachable film legend that is Jeff Bridges?
The presence and impact Bridges has had on the silver screen over the past half-century cannot be understated. By age 25, he had a host of brilliant pictures and performances – not to mention two Oscar nominations – under his belt with the likes of The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and Fat City. Bridges has charmed our pants off in films like Against All Odds, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Mirror Has Two Faces; moved us to tears in Starman and Fearless; stood out in ensemble pieces like Heaven’s Gate and Seabiscuit; and greatly lifted otherwise lukewarm pictures such as Tucker: The Man and His Dreams and his Oscar-winning Crazy Heart.
What Bridges pulls off in David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water seems both effortless and just about impossible for anyone else to have topped. He’s pitch-perfect as Marcus Hamilton, a Texas ranger on the brink of retirement who, alongside partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham, a terrific straight man to Bridges’ one-liner-machine), is on the trail of bank-robbing brothers Toby and Tanner Howard (Chris Pine and Ben Foster).
The Howard brothers are embarking on this series of heists throughout West Texas in order to save the family farm from foreclosure, following the death of their mother. While Toby also wants to utilize the funds to provide a better life for his estranged ex-wife and children, Tanner, fresh out of prison, is an all-around loose cannon, ready for action against anyone who dares to stand in their way. Badass Marcus, of course, is down for any challenge.
Written by Sicario scribe Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water is largely a bit of a slow burn, always engaging though never quite an exhilarating ride. There are, however, a handful of moments of great tension and even more moments of welcome humor. Character actors like Dale Dickey, Katy Mixon and especially Margaret Bowden walk away with their scenes.
And then there’s Bridges and Foster, both flat-out fantastic in their roles. Foster, who richly deserved an Oscar nomination a number of years back for The Messenger, never ceases to amaze. As for Pine, he’s merely serviceable in the role of the nicer, better-groomed Howard brother. He does have a Montgomery Clift-like matinee idol quality to him, except Clift was never this passive or uninteresting.
Hell or High Water is well above-average for an August film release.
OSCAR FLASHBACK: Best Original Song (2000) – Attack of the Swan!November 9, 2016 at 4:08 pm #1201947886
That was a flat out fantastic film, all the three lead performances are worth of a nomination, that gas station scene was just unfuckingbeliavable . ” Wow, he remembered the gun “.November 10, 2016 at 9:18 am #1201948756
I was floored by this film. It’s very well crafted, and a challenge to watch, but it is worth it and more.
Always liked this cast and no one disappoints.
Not perfect perhaps, but it’s one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year.
Recommended.November 10, 2016 at 12:37 pm #1201948843
Loved it on the big screen in cinemas. Loved it even more watching it at home.
It plays extremely well, which bodes well for that screener dvd.
Screenplay, Jeff Bridges, Cinematography and Score are all top notch. And even though he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, David Mackenzie’s direction is superb. The long takes, the circular panning over the landscape……it makes for great viewing.November 10, 2016 at 6:37 pm #1201949005
I am glad I went to this when it opened.
Then I went back to the theatre to see it again. I have to admit, I had a little trouble understanding West Texan. Outstanding cinematography and music and screenplay and more.
Here is more support for this excellent film.