Hell or High Water (2016)
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Ultimately a film about power struggles between the poor and the structures that maintain the status quo, Hell or High Water is a satisfying crime spree film with rich political overtones right down to the subtle colour coding of the white hats and black hats like an old Western. The film deftly speaks to the state of the state of Texas and how the oppression of those who have nothing is nothing new.
Lit up by a career-changing performance by Chris Pine, this is a fascinating film with great visuals and solid editing as well.
Hell or High Water tells the story of two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) robbing banks in West Texas small towns to save their family ranch before it's repossessed by the very bank they're stealing from. Jeff Bridges is the U.S. Marshal on the verge of retirement tracking them. Great performances all around, with some solid, authentic work from guest players who are obviously local people. A real sense of place inhabits the film despite being filmed in New Mexico (I was reminded of my time in Central Texas), as well as a sense of the times we live in, with a rundown economy and financial anxiety on everyone's lips. You care for the criminal protagonists not just because they have great chemistry, but because they are trying to break a cycle of poverty perpetrated by the real, and generally faceless, villains of the story. Because the cops are sympathetic too, and you definitely get where they're coming from. By turns funny and dramatic, definitely topical and yet universal, this is among my favorite films seen this year.
At least MrDoog admits he hasn't been paying attention this year.
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #46 in Western
This movie ranks #85 in Best Of Rotten Tomatoes
This movie ranks #371 in The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #534 in Academy Award Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #998 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die