Hell or High Water

First Hit:  Very well acted Texas Ranger crime story that evokes the old west while resolving a modern day problem.

Brothers Tanner and Toby Howard (Ben Foster and Chris Pine respectively) are two bank robbers who clearly have a plan. During the robberies they take only loose cash, only what is in the teller drawers, and only from the small Mid-Texas Midland Bank branches.

As the story evolves the audience learns how Tanner has been a trouble maker his whole life while Toby has been walking the straight and narrow path. So why are they doing this? We eventually find out and that is what makes this story work. Because the amount of money they are taking are small, the FBI isn’t interested in finding the robbers, so the Rangers get the assignment.

Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) is a near retirement Ranger who is a little long in the tooth while being old time smart and is very loyal to his job. His partner, Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham), is a younger man who is also Indian. The running jokes in the film is that Marcus cannot help himself about making racist and pointed jokes about Alberto’s heritage. However, the audience also sees the love and respect Marcus has for Alberto. In the pursuit of the robbers the audience learns about each of the characters and the story of the ranch Tanner and Toby are trying to save.

The script does a great job of defining the characters and letting the story unfold.

Pine is wonderful as the thoughtful smart brother who finds a way to help his family. Foster is perfect as the on-edge bad-boy brother who wants to help and support his brother. Bridges embodies the old west in the new world with this role. He’s amazing. Birmingham is fantastic as Bridges’ partner. A shout-out to Margret Bowman who plays a waitress in a restaurant. Her 2 minutes on the screen were brilliant. Taylor Sheridan wrote a very strong script. David Mackenzie did an excellent job of directing the actors through this story. The small Texas town feel was very well done.

Overall:  This was a very entertaining film.