Hell or high water

Film of the Week is easily Hell or High Water, a Texas noir from Scotland’s David Mackenzie. Ben Foster (always a live-wire scene stealer) and Chris Pine (who’s growing on me) are bank robbing brothers, knocking off small local branches and getting the sparse morning takings before hitting another and switching getaway cars.

Wily old sheriff Jeff Bridges, who these days speaks like he’s got a mouthful of chocolate raisins, is on to them in his own unhurried way, spotting a pattern but trying to figure out their reasons while contemplating his own imminent retirement.

The pace is tight but there’s room to consider the passing of time, the fading of the old West, the cowboys and the courtesy, the little man oppressed by the system, little towns emptied by malls and superstores. All these things add up to a very satisfying take on an old staple – I loved the little turn from the ageing diner waitress at the T-Bone Cafe – a film that feels quite 70s, looks a bit 90s, yet has  a 21st century streak of bitter regret.

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis do the score, but the country tunes from Waylon Jennings, Colter Wall and Gillian Welch among others add to and comment on the atmosphere. Very polished, very much the film to watch and I tip my stetson to it.

Leave a Reply