Friday, September 2, 2016
Hell or High Water Review
The most recent movie that I reviewed was the horror/thriller Don't Breathe. There's a couple of reasons to bring this movie up when talking about Hell or High Water. The first reason is that both movies are a bit ambiguous when trying to label them with one specific genre. After seeing Don't Breathe, I got into a conversation with a random YouTuber that was adamant that Don't Breathe wasn't a horror movie. I would consider it a horror movie, especially since I was more terrified during that movie than I was during most other horrors that I've seen recently. But does it really matter what you call it? And do you really have to limit a movie to just one genre? Don't Breathe is a horror and a thriller. But more importantly, it's a movie. And a good movie at that. Same goes with Hell or High Water. I was sitting there watching this movie and was trying to think of what genre it was. Was it a crime drama? Was it an action movie? Does it count as a western? It's certainly a heist movie, but do heist movies get their own genre or are they more of a sub-genre to something else? My conclusion? Eh. Who cares. Hell or High Water is a film. And a dang good film. Speaking of which, perhaps later we can discuss movie vs. film. Are they the same thing or different? For now we will move on.
The other reason to bring up Don't Breathe is that both movies were essentially heist movies. Don't Breathe was a heist gone wrong that had three dumb kids trapped in a house with an old, blind psychopath. With that, I said in that review that a successful heist movie will toy with your moral compass. Crime is wrong. Robbing banks is awful. But if a heist movie can make you go against that moral logic by making you cheer for the heist to be a success, then it has done it's job. Don't Breathe succeeded in other areas that made me conclude that it was a good movie, but it failed on this heist aspect. I didn't care as much for these group of kids as I would've hoped and a part of me wanted them to suffer the consequences of trying to rob this old man of $300,000. Hell or High Water is a different story. This absolutely succeeds on the heist aspect. The story follows Chris Pine and Ben Foster playing two brothers going around robbing banks in order to get enough money to achieve a certain goal that I won't spoil. But you absolutely want them to succeed. These are two very-well fleshed out characters with great motivations that causes you to really care for them. Thus when I'm ranking heist movies, this stands it's ground with other great heist movies such as Ocean's Eleven, The Italian Job, and Fast Five. It was an absolutely fabulous ride.
On top of that, we also had the Rise of the Planet of the Apes conundrum here. In that movie you spend the whole time trying to figure out if you are on the side of the apes or on the side of the humans and you never really know who to root for. Some were frustrated with that. I wasn't. I love the fact that the movie did that to me and it's the same here. On the one hand, you have Ben Foster and Chris Pine robbing banks and you want them to succeed. On the other hand you have the legendary Jeff Bridges as our sheriff hunting them down in what may go down as one of Jeff Bridges' best roles yet. While you want Chris Pine and Ben Foster to succeed, you also definitely want Jeff Bridges to succeed as well because he is a total boss in this. There's no white and black here. No definitive good vs. evil. It's all very gray, which blew me away. What really sold this were the performances of these three actors. I may hate Chris Pine's Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek movies, but I do like Chris Pine and he gives the performance of his career in this movie. It's the best I've seen Chris Pine by a long shot. Same with Ben Foster. I won't claim it's Jeff Bridges best performance because he's done a lot of amazing things, but he's equally as good. All three of these men give Oscar-worthy performances and I hope they don't all get snubbed or else I'll be mad.
Hell or High Water is one of the best reviewed movies of the year. It currently stands at 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with 140 reviews counted. It's also catching on at the box office as at the conclusion of the Labor Day weekend, it'll have close to $15 million in the bank following its fourth weekend of release, which is actually pretty solid for indie movie standards. I'm not one to just go with the flow. I've gone against the grain many times. But in this case, there's a reason why everyone who has seen this movie is raving about it. I've actually had some time to think about this movie as it's been about a week since I've seen it and it's one of those movies that gets better the more I think about it. Towards the beginning of this review I talked about all the different genres that this movie could fall under and the fact that it can be classified under so many genres is a strength that speaks to how well-rounded this movie is. It covers a little bit of everything along the way and thus is a fantastic ride. Oscar season is about to start and I really hope that this is a movie that catches on during awards season. If it gets ignored because it was released a little too early or didn't hit the festival rounds before getting released, that would be quite the shame. Regardless of what Oscar voters say, though, make sure you go out and treat yourself to this fantastic film. You'll be glad you did. I'm giving Hell or High Water a 9.5/10.