Film review: Hell or High Water (2016)

On the surface, this is another clichéd cops and robbers film. Two brothers, the older one having spent ten years in prison for a series of crimes, set out on a spree of robbing banks in rural West Texas, stealing fairly small amounts of cash from each, and pursued by a grizzled old Texas Ranger on the verge of retirement and his partner who is of mixed Mexican/Indian ethnicity.

But beneath the surface, this is a very political film, telling a story of the decline of rural America and dying small towns where people have lost jobs and hope and are bitter and worn down, seeing a bleak future for themselves and their children, with their homes and farms being foreclosed by banks. The banks are the real villains in this story, finding ways to take advantage of these people and take their property. As the partner of the ranger tells him, “At one time we owned this land. Then your people came and took it away from us. And now the banks are taking it away from your people.” What the people of the region still have are their guns and pretty much everyone seems to carry one on them.

It is a good film with fine performances by Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, and Gil Birmingham. Here’s the trailer.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Is not this a remake of several novel-inspired movies from the 1930’s or 40’s? It sounds like Upton Sinclair though I think Sinclair was writing about railways. Or do I mean Jack London when I think railways?

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