Despite the high watermark set by Starred Up, David Mackenzie betters himself once again with the immensely gratifying western Hell or High Water, a genre hybrid with a rich streak of melancholy but no shortage of humour – not to mention several exhilaratingly-shot car chases reminiscent of Derek Cianfrance’s Pines.
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ score complements and enhances the drama perfectly, while some jaw-dropping drone shots impress upon us the hugeness of the American landscape; however, the real star here is Jeff Bridges as the lovable, wheezing, old-school sort-of-racist sheriff, who is gifted some terrific one-liners by Taylor Sheridan’s script.
Direction, camera, sound, and performance coalesce as HOHW achieves the tricky balancing act of taking on many incongruous moods and making them complement one another perfectly. This film deserves attention.
CAST: Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Katie Mixon
DIRECTOR: David Mackenzie
WRITER: Taylor Sheridan
SYNOPSIS: A divorced dad (Pine) and his wayward brother (Foster) resort to robbing a string of banks in order to save their family farm in Texas.
Hell or High Water was screened in Un Certain Regard at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.