Hell or High Water

4 out of 5 stars

Essentially a cops and robbers thriller with a heavy tinge of the cowboy Western genre, it is also a political statement on poverty and a quiet but powerful denouncement of our modern financial banking system. While this will always be known as the film where Chris Pine shows us that he can do more than squint convincing as Captain Kirk and his is a compelling and nuanced performance; there is also an immensely watchable Jeff Bridges who plays the tough Marshall in pursuit, and just because he can do the role in his sleep, that’s no reason to take his performance for granted. Scenes of his bantering with his deputy (played by Gil Birmingham) are funny, heart-warming/breaking and pay off towards the end of the film in an emotional and poignant fashion. Deliberately desolate and desperate yet peppered with astute observations of our times, the beautifully crafted film admittedly has a few wobbly or “posey” moments but in the end I found myself totally invested in a film that’s written, directed and shot with a poetic and picturesque sentimentality that never boils over into hysterical melodrama.

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