Does this tale of Rangers vs. Cowboys have a chance to upset La La Land?
Football just got done with the Super Bowl. The music industry just got done with the Grammys. Cinema’s big day is fast approaching as we await the Academy Awards. I recently did an Oscar predictions article which you can read here where I embarrassingly had only watched a few of the entries for the big money category, Best Picture. In an effort to get myself and everyone else more familiar with these films, I am going to try and complete Oscar Watch review for all the nominees for Best Picture. As of this review, I’ve completed reviews for La La Land (the favorite accordingly to me and most likely a lot of other people) and Moonlight. Hopefully I will get around to getting all these nominees reviewed. The nominee for Best Picture being reviewed here is Hell or High Water. Not in many theaters anymore, this was definitely worth the Red Box rental fee.
What happens when you don’t follow the plan? What happens when you get too arrogant? Hell or High Water is the tale of two brothers, Toby and Tanner Howard played respectfully by Chris Pine and Ben Foster as they methodically rob Texas Midland Banks by following a set plan. This method of robbing banks keeps them one step ahead of law enforcement and keeps them from tasting bullets shot by good Samaritans. These banks are foreclosing on their land. By robbing these banks, the goal of these brothers is to erase this debt and also set up the future of their families. Chasing them along the way, is about to be retired Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton played by Jeff Bridges. Seemingly having a well thought out game plan when it comes to making these robberies, difficulties arise when the younger brother, Tanner who is an ex con, gets wild and reckless. These brothers care for each other but they have conflicting ideas on moving forward with their bank approaches after they have a few robberies already under their belt. Toby wants to keep with a cautious approach of least resistance, while Tanner wants to go about it with more reckless abandon. Needless to say this gets them in hot water as they ultimately face a confrontation with Ranger Hamilton and his police crew along with some other good Samaritans.
This movie is set in West Texas and gives off the feel of a modern western. You have two outlaws and a ranger hot on their tales. It’s a classic story but a compelling one. Both sides of this conflict are able to be empathized with. I found myself rooting for the brothers and the Ranger. Toby, the older brother, keeps the brothers relatable and grounded. You want them to succeed but then you also want Ranger Hamilton to succeed in catching them. They are both such likeable characters that it makes for great cinema. The ultimate showdown at the end between the main characters left me with a smile on my face. That speaks to the acting in this movie. Everyone was superb, but Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges were exceptional. The cinematography is beautiful as you really feel the vastness and expanse of West Texas.
As I begun this movie, I wasn’t too excited to watch it. However, the more it played, the more I became engrossed in what was happening. It was such an enjoyable movie to watch. I can see why it was nominated for Best Picture. The film is filled with rich emotional levity. Although, I still don’t see it overtaking La La Land, it is definitely rising in my rankings. If you enjoy bank heist movies, westerns, or just a good movie you should definitely check this one out. Rent this movie!