Hell or High Water

Please Note: This film is no longer showing at Railroad Square Cinema

““Hell or High Water” is a thrillingly good movie—a crackerjack drama of crime, fear, and brotherly love set in a sun-roasted, deceptively sleepy West Texas that feels completely exotic for being so authentic. The film opens, as so many underworld sagas have, with a bank robbery: At a Texas Midlands branch in the middle of a flyspeck town, two guys in ski masks wave their guns around and grab the cash from behind the teller windows. One of them, it’s clear, is a wild boy who’s enjoying the robbery a little too much. As they race off in their getaway car, a sporty scuzz-mobile that seems to be advertising the fact that they’re crooks, we think we’re watching a pop genre movie about violent losers who are too reckless for their own good. But “Hell or High Water” settles into something quite different. Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are brothers, and in their minds they have damn good reason to be doing what they’re doing. They’re low-rent bandits, but they’re also richly drawn human characters, and every twist and turn of their dive beyond the law is rooted in the real world. “Hell or High Water” merges the excitement of a crime-spree noir with a haunting undertow of family history and destiny”—Owen Gleiberman, Variety. But there’s a Texas Ranger, of course, played by the inimitable Jeff Bridges: “And Bridges? What’s there to say about a man who makes it look so easy, and who—in one breathless, pivotal scene – runs through a range of emotion like a wild pony running across the land. Genius, any way you look at it.”—Stephen Rea, Philadelphia Enquirer. R. 102 Min.

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