Chris Pine and Ben Foster play bank robbers in small-town Texas, hunted by Jeff Bridges’ Texas Ranger in this modern western/thriller directed by David Mackenzie (Hallam Foe, Starred Up).
Pine’s everyman Toby and Foster’s deranged Tanner aren’t out and out bad-guys though; they are victims of circumstance. Their mother has recently died, leaving debts, and the bank will foreclose on their property in a matter of days. As oil has been discovered on the land, Toby wants to secure the house to ensure a better future for his children and the brothers are robbing the bank so they can pay them off with their own money – the message that banks are evil isn’t even subtext as Hell or High Water practically bats you over the head with the idea.
The Black List winning script by former Sons of Anarchy and Sicario writer Taylor Sheridan really sizzles, while the performances are top drawer, especially from Bridges. The banter he shares with his long suffering side-kick (Birmingham) is a delight. Also watch out for the waitress from hell (but comedy heaven.)
Cinematographer Giles Nuttgens also deserves a mention for his excellent capturing of the (actually New Mexico) vast landscape that feels dirty, gritty and truly enhances the mood.