“Hell or High Water” is a slow burn, tense and sublime American drama that is superb in every way. It’s highlighted by fantastic writing and even better performances, and is one of the best movies of the year.
Is it worth $10? Yes
If the Old West told stories of good vs. evil and the protection of civilization against all who threaten it, this “New Western” adapts those principles for the present day with noticeably blurred lines. Brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are as smart as can be when robbing numerous branches of Texas Midlands banks: they wear masks, always use a different car, only take low denomination bills (because 100’s and above are traceable), and they max out at less than $10,000 each time. This keeps them below the radar of the FBI, but puts them in the sights of retiring Texas Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges) and his partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham).
In addition to Toby and Tanner’s methodology being smart, their reasons are valid, albeit selfish. Toby knows the bank is ready to foreclose on their family’s land, and he wants to leave it in a trust for his two sons. So he and Tanner are stealing from the bank only to give the money back to the bank to pay off debts.