Hell or High Water: A Different Kind of Heist Thriller

(Left to right) Ben Foster and Chris Pine in HELL OR HIGH WATER. Photo credit: Lorey Sebastian.

Released this past August in limited theaters before gradually expanding, Hell or High Water stars Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Gil Birmingham.

Directed by David Mackenzie from a screenplay by Taylor Sheridan, the film delivers heist thriller that does without all of the shootouts and instead gives us fully-realized characters. Sheridan’s screenplay was featured on the Black List in 2012 so it should come as no surprise then that the Texan thriller should be seen by movie audiences.

In this West Texas drama, two brothers have joined forces to rob a bank that is in the process of foreclosing on their land. Toby (Pine) is divorced and only wants his son to have a better life than he did. Tanner (Foster) has a short temper. Things start to look their way until the Texas Rangers, Marcus Hamilton (Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Birmingham) start coming after them.

Hamilton is on the verge of retiring from the Texas Rangers and is looking for that final hurrah before he goes. The rangers start to track a pattern of the banks they have hit and which one they will go after next. This sets up the final showdown between the brothers and the Rangers.

There are some funny moments in the film, including a scene where the Rangers are eating at a diner that specializes in T-Bone steak. Order something different from the T-Bone waitress and chances are that it won’t end well.

As awards season kicks into gear, Hell or High Water has been on a few lists. The National Board of Review named it as one of the top ten films of 2016 while the Critics’ Choice Awards handed the movie six nominations, including best film.

You can buy or rent Hell or High Water now. There’s a good chance that you missed it in theaters as the film brought in just over $30 million during its theatrical run.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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