Hell or High Water – 5 stars

A very smart, evocative crime spree flick, elevated by a high-minded motive, a feel for the rich texture and other-worldliness of Midwest Texas, soulful performances by lawman Jeff Bridges and dead-ender cowboy Ben Foster, and a subversive sense of humor/political streak.  People screw these films up in any number of ways; by over-elegizing the working man, slicking up the action, or emphasizing quirk over heart.

Writer Taylor Sheridan avoids all the tropes and also draws beautiful relationships between Foster and his sweeter brother (Chris Pine), Bridges and his long-time, beleaguered partner (Gil Birmingham, whose fixed resolve to not allow Bridges to get a rise out of him is one of many pleasures of the script), and all the characters and the milieu.  Director David MacKenzie’s handle is restrained and assured.

One of the best of the year.

Now available at Red Box or Netflix DVD.

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