Flash Movie Review: Hell or High Water

What I am about to tell you all took place in my mind; well, maybe some of it did really happen. As I walked through the double glass doors I flipped the open sign hanging on its metal chain to close. Inside there was a chair to the side; I took it to prop up against the closed doors to bar anyone from walking in. I was there to take action and get some results. You see I had locked in an incredibly low interest rate just before they started to rise back up. I was doing some refinancing and would be lowering my monthly payments significantly. The bank kept delaying me, rejecting my application for the most trivial things that were not even my fault. Since the lock on the interest rate had a short expiration date, I was sure the bank wanted to let it expire so they could charge a higher interest rate. The first time my paperwork got rejected was due to not having a check mark next to the word “Mister.” The second time it came back was because a document was missing which they lost. These things were their fault; they had drawn up the documentation and filled it out. A personal banker came up and before they could say anything I told them I was not leaving until my application was approved. I told them if they could not do it then they needed to find someone else right now. From my knapsack I took out my paperwork, protein bars, 2 bottles of water and a baseball bat. Desperate times called for extreme action.   THE only way brothers Toby and Tanner Howard, played by Chris Pine (Star Trek franchise, The Finest Hours) and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor, Warcraft), could set things right was to start robbing banks. They would just have to be quick about it. This film festival nominated crime drama’s cast was outstanding. With Jeff Bridges (True Grit, The Giver) as Marcus Hamilton and Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone, Super 8) as Elsie, the acting was something to see. Maybe there were a couple of things that seemed familiar with Jeff’s performance, but with this character he was close to perfection. As for Chris I was stunned, especially after seeing him recently in the new Star Trek film. It took me a minute to realize this was the same Chris I had seen because he looked and acted so differently; I was impressed with his performance. Set in Texas the story had a strong western type of movie vibe but with a modern take. Visually I enjoyed the framing of the scenes along with the soundtrack. I thought some outdoor shots were ideal in conveying the plight of the bank robbers; it really was wonderful camera work. There were a couple of patches where I felt the story dragged but nothing major. No pun intended but the richness of the script provided a well rounded story that was a pleasure to watch on the big screen. I cannot image a theater patron feeling like they were robbed by paying to see this film; it was worth the money. There were some scenes with blood and violence in them.


3 ½ stars        



About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on August 19, 2016, in Drama and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I’ve read a few reviews of this film now that gave it high praise including one that said it was the reviewer’s movie of the year. My in-laws are visiting soon so I a) hope they offer to babysit for us and b) hope this movie is still playing if they do.

  2. I’m dying for this film to play near me. Great review, Joltz.

  3. Loved reading about this episode at the bank. Written with such descriptive flair it could almost be the script for a movie in itself. And a great introduction to the movie Hell or High Water.

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Hi it is a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for stopping by to leave your comments and kind words. I hope you get to see this movie; I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on it afterwards.

  4. For actors like John Wayne, he’s never anything but John Wayne. Chris Pine is one of those rare actors who becomes the part. The first time I saw him in the role of James Kirk, I understood what the reviewer meant when Pine was described as “More Shatner than Shatner.” There are few movie outside of my preferred genre I care to see, but this one may be the exception.

    Thanks for the insightful review.

    • I agree with you; I give Chris Pine major props for taking on different roles to expand his acting and show his range. I hope you get to see this film; I would enjoy hearing your views afterward. Thank you for the comments.

  5. This sounds like a great movie, thank you for the review!

  6. My in-laws were kind enough to babysit for us during their recent visit from the UK so my husband and I chose to go and see this movie. I felt confident I would enjoy it but my husband was not so convinced Ultimately, however, we both came away agreeing it was one of the best movies we have seen in a long time.

    The performances were all fantastic. Every single character, whether well-developed or a supporting one, had real weight and substance, the sense of an actual life behind the dialogue and actions. The acting of all involved was nuanced, whether it was a slight flicker in a lip or a subtle change in the eyes or a change in vocal tone. I also thought the direction and cinematography were superb. I agree with you about the sense of it being part of the tradition of western movies while doing something new and contemporary with that legacy. I also liked all of the layering of things, in dialogue and images, that suggested the evolution of time and progress being thwarted by regression. There were also some incredible shots. One right at the beginning blew me away with its complexity and what it contributed to the storytelling.

    I have been recommending this movie to everyone. It deserves a bigger audience.

    • Give your in-laws an extra hug from me for allowing you to see such an incredible film. I am so happy for you two and thrilled you both loved it. Thank you for the wonderful comments on the film; I appreciate it.

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