Thursday, July 6, 2017

3 Short Paragraphs: Hell or High Water

2016, David MacKenzie (Asylum) -- download

Something about procrastination being a part of your soul, means "reviewing" (i still shudder when I accidentally call this reviewing) a movie ends up being just the lingering memories and emotions. In some ways this is what it should be. A movie post should not be a clinical reference to the plot and directorial details, but how you reacted. When your memory sucks, emotional reactions end up being all. If they are strong, even in a negative way, then that means the movie made an impression.

For the longest time, I thought this was a Coen Bros movie and was on my To Watch list. But other than the movie being about two brothers involved in crime, there is no relation to the Coens; none whatsoever, not even tone or intent. Instead this is a neo-noir cowboy crime movie about two Texan brothers who rob banks for a good & just reason. That sounds like it could be a Coen Bros movie, but nope, just a well told, well done crime story.

The bad brother was just released from prison and he is assisting the good brother to pay off the bank of their family land. You see, if they get the land back from the bank, they can in turn sell it to an oil company for boatloads of cash, and good brother will give the land to his ex-wife and kids, whom he has not been so good to. Chris Pine is the good brother, Ben Foster is the bad. Neither see this situation turning out in their favour, but have to see it through. On the other side of the fence is Jeff Bridges, the aging (he's been playing aging for a while, so this might be aged) Texas Ranger who should be retiring but decides to stop these two good ol boys. The tone is relentless and determined, with each side knowing they cannot stop. It draws you in, taking its time, but never leaves you bored; dialogue between the two pairs (brothers, texas rangers) is snappy, biting. The brown tones of dusty Texas, feel cowboy movie, but shift this in any direction, it could have been anywhere.

Note: There is a scene where the character launders the stolen money in a casino, in a very real manner, which I recognized. The Anti-Money Laundering course at that casino must not be very good.