DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, November 06, 2016

Darkmatters Review: Hell or High Water

Hell or High Water (15)

Dir. David Mackenzie

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"He wouldn't know God if he crawled up his pant leg and bit him on the pecker."

Heartbreaking bad life choices and a viciously anti-consumer banking system drive a divorced father and his nasty ex-con older brother to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas.

Despite its crime-em-up stylings, Hell or High Water is a film that has family at the heart. Exciting bank heists, shootouts, chases and a body count follow but relationships form the core and it is the family dynamic that makes Director David 'Starred Up' Mackenzie's film so engaging.

The writing is fantastic throughout, these are  living, breathing, believable characters who it's easy to get attached to. Jeff Bridges really shines and has rarely ever been better, delivering a masterpiece of grizzled Texas Ranger (who has hilarious banter with his long-suffering half Mexican / half Comanche partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) - the interplay between these two crackles with uncomfortable energy thanks to Taylor Sheridan's razor-sharp script.

The outlaw brothers at the heart of the film are portrayed by the stoic Toby (Chris 'Star Trek' Pine) and the crazed Tanner (Ben '11:14' Foster) - both delivering pitch-perfect performances. These two anti-heroes are dangerous to hang out with but compelling company, even when they are just shooting the breeze in a diner or hitting on women in Casinos post-heist. The awkwardness of brotherly love that transcends the law and muddies the moral compass is wonderfully written and portrayed.

violent times

Just how far will a good man go when desperation closes in around him from every angle? This is a strong visual hell of slow-burning tension and rising stakes which uncovers the full extent of both the selfless actions of the brothers from two contradicting angles. Toby is at heart an honourable cowboy fighting against injustice whilst Tanner is his dark and volatile flip side - a high plains drifter who leaves chaos in his wake.

The stunning cinematography which evokes the desolate sadness that haunts the run down areas around Texas that really makes this like a modern day Western. Everything comes together to deliver a powerhouse cinematic experience which is one of the best of the year.

Hell or High Water is a must-see film that should be regarded as a classic going forward.

hunting season

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - Heavy duty emotion and crime make good bed fellows)...

Awesomeness öööö – Intense robberies and more

Laughs ööö – Strong dark humour throughout

Horror ööö – Violent and unflinching

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Strange pathos can be revealing

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