REVIEW: Hell or High Water

Hell or High Water is a modern day dust bowl movie about two brothers robbing banks in Texas. In some ways it’s like the idealized version of what people want the Bonnie and Clyde story to be if only reality didn’t get in the way: Bank robbers with a purpose.

It’s also basically perfect.

The movie opens with the brothers’ first robbery: They jump a teller first thing in the morning, only to discover that all the money is in the vault and they’ll have to wait for the bank manager so that he can open the vault. And that really sets the tone for the rest of the movie. They have everything planned out, except not quite.

We join this story with everything already in motion, so the movie has a lot of backstory to fill us in on, but it somehow manages to work it all in pretty seamlessly. The heist plan may be pretty well thought out, but the movie itself is goddam immaculate. The construction of this movie, the way it’s structured and laid out is just impressive.

But what really sets Hell of High Water apart is its dialogue. Whether it’s the main cast playing off each other, or even side characters with only a few lines, all the writing here is great. Every scene just feels natural and real, despite a really high number of zingers that just really hit hard. These characters are really good at giving each other shit. Ben Foster, Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham do the bulk of the heavy lifting, but the entire cast is great. A lot of great Texans.

The movie also looks fantastic but that’s almost an afterthought at this point. The movie just gets everything right.

This is a great movie that I feel privileged to have been able to see in a theater.