‘Hell or High Water,’ visually beautiful

‘Hell or High Water,’ visually beautiful

Mathew Shankute

“Hell or High Water” stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as brothers who execute a series of bank robberies across Texas to save the family farm, while a battle-hardened sheriff (Jeff Bridges) on the edge of retirement chases after them.

While the premise sounds thoroughly generic, the movie manages to rise above genre conventions to become something much more, thanks to the strength of its acting, directing, and writing.
The actors all give wonderful performances, especially Pine and Foster who deliver a painfully real depiction of brotherly love and true desperation.

Jeff Bridges expertly blends comedy and tragedy in his role as Sheriff Marcus Hamilton, delivering a dozen laugh out loud lines during the movie, while also maintaining a dark undercurrent of sadness buried behind walls of stoicism.

In addition to the strong performances all around, the movie is also incredibly enjoyable just on a visual level. It presents beautiful, expansive shots of the desolate West Texas landscape alongside equally striking footage of poverty stricken small towns and trailer park communities.

The movie maintains an air of unpredictability throughout its runtime, often quickly switching between comedic moments, emotional exchanges between men who do their best to hide any emotions at all, and frighteningly real violence.

The movie’s portrayal of gun violence is also exemplary, as it eschews typical Hollywood depictions of guns for a more measured and real approach.

Simply put, “Hell or High Water” is a gem and completely well worth your time and money.