Toby Howard (Chris Pine) and his brother Tanner (Ben Foster), who has recently been released from prison decide to start robbing banks. They only target Texas Midland banks, taking care to make sure everything is planned out and no one gets hurt.
Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his partner, Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) are assigned to investigate the bank robberies. As they look for a clues, Marcus figures out where he thinks they will strike next.
As the brothers’ heists continue, Tanner’s impulsive side leads him to make some rash decisions. As one robbery goes sideways, the brothers find themselves being chased by a group of locals. When the Rangers join the hunt, things don’t look good for Toby and Tanner.
Hell or High Water is a gritty heist film that shows the bank robbers’ motives might not be what they seem.
Chris Pine is the more rational of the Tanner brothers. He does what he does out of necessity. He doesn’t give into rash decisions like his brother. Pine and Ben Foster work well together, balancing each other’s character. When Foster’s Tanner takes some unnecessary chances, Pine’s Toby reacts to protect his brother, even at his own expense. Jeff Bridges plays the unrelenting Texas Ranger in a way that is so Jeff Bridges. His lines are deliberate, his character unwavering. The sole light moment is provided by Katy Mixon. As a waitress that crosses the brothers’ path, she realizes there is something more to Toby.
While some of the Best Picture nominees for the Oscars this year rely mostly on somber staring, Hell or High Water falls into the class of those films that keep you engrossed in the story. There is constant action and, eventually, a clear motivation for the lead characters. Jeff Bridges is also worthy of the Best Supporting Actor nod.
While the story may not carry as much weight as Hacksaw Ridge or Lion, or the historical significance of Loving or Hidden Figures, Hell or High Water is one of the more purely entertaining films nominated this year. It is a bank heist film that also shows how important family is. See it not only to check it off the list of Best Picture films, but also for an exciting, entertaining escape.