David Mackenzie’s Hell or High Water isn’t only a standout for great crime dramas to have come out this summer, but one with a message.
Set in West Texas, the movie follows two brothers, Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine), who conduct a slew of robberies in order to repay a family debt, all while being pursued by Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges). What makes the brothers’ story so interesting is that they’re nowhere near the caliber of professional that Robert De Niro was in Heat. They target smaller branch banks, located in rural towns, aiming for the loose cash behind the desks. Their heists may be sloppy, but they brilliantly cover their tracks, burying the crappy getaway vehicles in the desert and laundering their cash at a nearby casino.
Sicario writer, Taylor Sheridan, has once again crafted a phenomenal script full of shootouts, getaways, and a cast of characters so likable; you’ll have trouble deciding whom to root for. Toby is the cautious, more calculated of the two brothers, while Toby is more brash and unpredictable. Their dynamic creates a dangerous, yet sometimes comedic duo. On the other side of things, we have Jeff Bridges’ Marcus Hamilton, an aging, politically incorrect Texas Ranger who refuses to retire.
Following the death of their mother, Tanner and Toby’s family ranch faces foreclosure from the Texas Midland Bank. After it’s discovered that there’s untapped oil on the property, the bank seemingly becomes more eager to acquire the property and gives the brothers a very tight deadline to deliver the cash. As a result, the brothers target Texas Midland Banks during their crime spree to basically feed the snake its own tail.