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Hell or High Water - Film Review

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by rujihw (subscribe)
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon
Published October 29th 2016
One of the best action thrillers in 2016
Would you rob the bank that robbed you? Hell or High Water challenges its audience to contemplate the notion of redemptive criminality, where good people do bad things for good reasons. Directed by award-winning UK filmmaker David MacKenzie and starring Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster and Gil Birmingham, Hell or High Water is not your typical bank robbery movie; it is a film that cuts deep into themes such as brotherhood, legacy, and sacrifice.

Hell or High Water

Set in West Texas, Toby (Pine) and Tanner (Foster) are two brothers who have resorted to robbing banks in order to reclaim their family ranch. The backstory is that their mother passed away and left a huge debt due to a reverse mortgage, which if not paid in time will mean foreclosure of the property. Toby and Tanner don't just rob any bank, but branches of a specific bank - Texas Midlands Bank, the same bank that threatens to repossess their family ranch. Starting with a couple of small-scale robberies, they successfully nab a good amount of money which is then laundered via a casino, leaving no trace of how the money was acquired.

Of course, robbing a bank doesn't come without consequences. As well planned out as they can be, the robberies ultimately land on the radar of veteran rangers, Marcus and Alberto. Marcus is even more determined to arrest the robbers as it may his last assignment ever. At this point, feeling empathetic for Toby and Tanner, I was rooting for them to never get caught.

Things start to get even more interesting as Toby and Tanner decide to carry out one last heist - at a larger branch. This time, things did not go as planned and the heist comes with bigger risks which involve some heavy gunfire and multiple injuries. Toby and Tanner are lucky to escape the bank, however, the rangers soon get on their tail. What ensues next is a series of events that will leave you wondering if there is any way the story could have unfolded differently.

While we all know Chris Pine from the Star Trek franchise and rom coms, after watching him play Toby, I have a renewed appreciation for his acting and how versatile of an actor he can be. There was a certain chemistry between him and Ben Foster, who played the bolder, fiercer and fearless older brother who is very protective of Toby. Not to forget the performances of Jeff Bridges (Academy Award winner and six-time Academy Award Nominee) and Gil Birmingham (best known for his portrayal of Billy Black in The Twilight Saga film series), who play disparate Texas Ranger partners whose racially charged ribbing belies an unspoken depth of connection.

Hell or High Water is a must-watch for those looking for an action thriller that explores deeper themes beyond gunfire and explosions. With a rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, this brilliantly crafted heist thriller is currently showing in cinemas across Australia.
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Where: Now showing in cinemas
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