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Hell or High Water
BLU-RAY disk
12.13.2016 By: Chris Bumbray
Hell or High Water order download
Director:
David Mackenzie

Actors:
Chris Pine
Jeff Bridges
Ben Foster

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two down-on-their luck brothers (Chris Pine & Ben Foster) commit a series of daring bank robberies, with the goal of raising enough money to save their family ranch from foreclosure. Focusing their efforts only on the bank whose predatory lending practices have landed them in hoc, the two are pursued by a veteran Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) on the verge of retirement.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
HELL OR HIGH WATER was definitely one of those sleeper hits that took us all by surprise. While it got good buzz out of Cannes, and had SICARIO scribe Taylor Sheridan doing the screenplay, I didn’t expect much of this other than being a solid neo-western. Maybe it was that Chris Pine and Ben Foster were playing the leads, as I’ve often whined about both. My usual complain is that Pine is too bland, while Foster is just too…much.

Whatever the case, both bring it – big time – under David Mackenzie’s direction. A Scottish director best known for “kitchen sink” dramas, he wouldn’t seem the most natural choice for distinctly American thriller, with his last outing in the States being the Ashton Kutcher drama, SPREAD. In a way, his outsider’s perspective is what makes HELL OR HIGH WATER so rich, with his gaze shifting to things a director more accustomed to the land may not have noticed. It helps that his long take style adds tremendously to the action, such as one memorable moment where Foster antagonizes some tough-guy posers, and Pine comes along to beat one to within an inch of his life.

Foster’s got the best part of his career as the life-long criminal brother, giving an admirably naturalistic performance – unusual for his big style. Likewise, Pine is very convincing as an every man and seems totally invigorated (and even reinvented) by the part. For the first time ever, I really felt like I was watching a movie star while watching Pratt. As for Bridges, what little levity the film achieves he brings to it, but he also takes a major turn, and his climatic tete-a-tete with Pine is among the best acted moments in a film released this year.

THE EXTRAS
Enemies Forever: The Characters of Hell or High Water: In depth on the writing and character motivations, better than average for a featurette.

Visualizing the Heart of America: In depth on the Texas location/cinematography.

Damaged Heroes: The Performances of Hell or High Water: Insight into the acting, which a movie like this lives or dies on. Everyone seems jazzed by how the film turned out.

Red Carpet Premiere: Just what it sounds like - with the footage running just under two min.

Filmmaker Q & A: A long form Q&A with the director/cast from a special screening.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If you missed it in theaters, HELL OR HIGH WATER is a must-see. While the mid-west vistas won’t be as impressive at home, this should reach an even bigger audience on disc/digital than it did in theaters. It really is one of the best movies of the year, and one that holds up really well in repeat viewings.
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