Hell or High Water – I caught Hell or High Water on Showtime last night and thoroughly enjoyed the West Texas tale of two brothers robbing the very bank that was looking to repossess their mother’s ranch based on the terms of her reverse mortgage.
Hell or High Water
The film gives us two compelling duos: the Howard brothers, Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine) and the Texas Ranger partners Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham). The chemistry between Bridges and Birmingham is perfect – equal parts fondness, irritation, and respect.
That the drama climaxes in the city of Post, Texas makes it even more enjoyable for me. Many times, I’ve made the drive on Highway 84 through the small town that is a little southeast of Lubbock. The photography captures the vastness and the beauty and of the place.
It’s a land of cattle ranches, oil pumps and wind farms. Hell or High Water captures the Texas spirit perfectly among the no-nonsense, hard-working, proud citizens – be they bank tellers, waitresses, or ranchers.
The Toby/Tanner partnership reminds me a bit of the relationship between Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and James ‘Jem’ Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) in The Town. Tanner, like Jem, enjoys his criminality, is a happy to make high risk moves and content to go out in a blaze of glory. Toby by contrast is less of a thrill seeker. He is the architect of their plan and would prefer to remain as low key as possible – robbing the banks is a project not a career.
It is Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham who steal the show as the two Texas Rangers on the trail of the Howard brothers. They get their big break when Tanner deviates from the plan and it’s off to the final showdown in Post.
A fun little bit of trivia: the “rattlesnake” waitress is played by the same actress who was the hotel clerk who checked in Llewelyn Moss (No Country for Old Men).
Characters and cast of Hell or High Water include:
Tanner Howard – Ben Foster (Lone Survivor, 3:10 to Yuma, The Program, The Mechanic, Six Feet Under, Kill Your Darlings, Galveston)
Toby Howard – Chris Pine (Angie Tribeca, Wonder Woman, Star Trek Beyond, Into the Woods, Star Trek Into Darkness, Smokin’ Aces)
Marcus Hamilton – Jeff Bridges (The Only Living Boy in New York, Crazy Heart, The Big Lebowski, Iron Man, Seabiscuit,The Morning After)
Alberto Parker – Gil Birmingham (Twilight, Rango, Banshee, House of Cards)
Elsie – Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3, Claws, Vice Principals, Breaking Bad, Winter’s Bone, The Pledge, Super 8)
Jenny Ann – Katy Mixon (Eastbound & Down, Mike & Molly, Four Christmases, All About Steve)
Billy Rayburn – Kevin Rankin (Dallas Buyers Club, Breaking Bad, Claws, Lucifer, Gracepoint, White House Down, Wild, Justified, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
T-Bone Waitress – Margaret Bowman (No Country for Old Men, Bernie, The Lone Ranger, Longmire, Waiting for Guffman)
Debbie Howard – Marin Ireland (Boss, Homeland, Glass Chin, The Killing, The Divide, Masters of Sex, Girls, The Slap, Sneaky Pete)