Author Topic: Hell or High Water  (Read 630 times)


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Hell or High Water
« on: December 27, 2016, 11:00:24 PM »
[I didn't see this movie on Movie Talk (Spoiler Edition) when I searched, if it already exists please delete this topic.]

I went into this movie with few expectations - as I did not hear a lot regarding this film prior.  Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges were great in this film. I don't know how to classify this movie, besides possibly a 'modern western'.  The movie had an authentic look and feel and Taylor Sheridan did a great job with the writing, as I felt he did with Sicario (although not loved by all).  I'm interested in what others thought of this film.

Maybe I am a little biased that Jeff Bridges was in this...   ;)


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Re: Hell or High Water
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2016, 04:55:11 PM »
Hell or High Water
Simultaneously filled, start to finish, with exciting well designed set pieces, and a slow burn that hits you all at once. I suddenly realized this wasn't just a fun genre exercise, but a human examination of genre themes, here, Americana in crisis. Losing a land once owned by libertarianism and character to soulless and spineless modernity. This isn't exactly an elegy to the west, there is a thoughtful consideration to the morality lost to the unruly, examining to borders of criminality. The west, its symbols of freedom and conviction are still alive in the culture of modern texas, even if we have smart phones, video surveillance, and fully automatic weapons. These characters' want for liberty has turned to the want for money, a cure to the "disease" of poverty, an escape to its cycle, more than a want for traditional ethics. Lawlessness for liberty's sake; is anything more Texas than that?

I just saw this too. Very glad I caught up with it. I'd say "modern western" is about right, but not even something like 3:10 to Yuma (2007) (a modern made, period set western) does as much with the themes present in the genre to feel like more than genre play. I'd say "reconsideration" more than "update." I haven't seen much from Mackenzie (other than Starred Up, which also fits this bill) but i think its pretty awesome a Scotsman made something so entirely American.

The whole cast, including and especially Jeff Bridges is pretty great, but I'm curious how everyone else felt about his relationship with Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham). I felt like most of the time through Bridges needed to deal with the racial insensitivity he has been lobbing around if their relationship were to be meaningful on rewatch (it felt mostly uncomfortable because of how clearly disapproving of the jokes Alberto was). I think killing Alberto while Bridge's makes one last racial joke goes a long way in making the stakes meaningful to Bridges (a la, this isn't a joke/this isn't the dukes of hazzard), but I think it kind of punctuates a pretty shitty use of Birmingham as a character with a race unlike those surrounding him. idk. The moment worked, but it made me feel like the character had been misused fundamentally in some way. Thoughts?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 05:01:47 PM by jmbossy »


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Re: Hell or High Water
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2017, 11:31:48 PM »
This movie is a cautionary tale as to why Open Carry is a horrible idea.

That is all.


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Re: Hell or High Water
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2017, 05:48:34 PM »
Upon revisit in anticipation of its impending Oscar nominations, I'm still left pretty underwhelmed by this just-above-average genre fare.  From the opening shot, director David MacKenzie certainly has the milieu of the panhandle down; and Ben Foster and Chris Pine certainly nail the performances as one brother who has nothing to lose and another who does.  (I was less impressed by Jeff Bridges' Oscar-nominated take as a Texas Ranger on the eve of retirement, a slight variation on Rooster Cogburn that compares rather unfavorably to Michael Shannon's competing performance in the under-appreciated Nocturnal Animals.)   The primary problem here is the dialogue by Taylor Sheridan and the proverbial spaces in-between, although I can see those Academy members on the coasts eating up the on-the-nose portrayals of small town Texans - from the old man exclaiming "You're robbing a bank and you're not even a Mexican!", to the armada of concealed-carry wahoos in their pick-up trucks, etc.  (I guess lazy stereotyping becomes palatable when the underlying politics are "correct.")  And do we really need the singular scrawl of post-recession/Iraq war graffiti in the opening shot or the Native American descendant sitting around on a storefront pontificating about the karma of economic exploitation?  It's a bit of a shame that Hell or High Water is getting so much attention versus Green Room - a genre movie that gives its audience far more credit.

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