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Hell or High Water (2016)

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A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 39 wins & 156 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mr. Clauson
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Old Man
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Olney Teller
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Alberto Parker
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Archer City Deputy
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Jenny Ann
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Rancher
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Vernon Teller
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Bank Manager
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Vernon PD Officer
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Vernon Diner Waitress
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Storyline

Following a series of armed robberies at a number of branches of Texas Midland Bank where very little money was taken, we learn that the motive of unemployed oil and gas worker Toby Howard (Chris Pine) and his brother -- just released from prison -- is to raise enough money to pay off the reverse mortgage that will forfeit their recently deceased mother's ranch if not paid off. Oil was discovered on the ranch and in order to secure the future of his sons and ex wife, Toby needs $43,000. After two of the robberies, curmudgeonly Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and his American Indian deputy partner pick up the trail and just miss foiling the next, and last robbery. Written by Scott J. Tepper, Calabasas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Blood always follows money See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Comancheria  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$621,329 (USA) (12 August 2016)

Gross:

$26,862,450 (USA) (4 November 2016)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dale Dickey and Kevin Rankin, who do not share scenes in this film, also appeared in Breaking Bad (2008) where they also did not share scenes. Both works were filmed in the state of New Mexico. See more »

Goofs

When the Texas Rangers are first discussing the two bank robberies, they say that the two branches are of a bank that does not operate outside Texas, therefore the FBI "don't want it." Bank robbery is a federal crime--the FBI always investigates. See more »

Quotes

Marcus Hamilton: God, I love West Texas.
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Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Spaced Invaders (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Comancheria
(uncredited)
Performed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
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User Reviews

 
A film worth seeking out.
21 August 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

'Hell or High Water' is a bit of an odd duck. Mainly because it got a wide release. This is the only great film that has released in 2016 that got a wide release. I mean, there are only four or five films that I thought have been really great and all of them have either got basically no theater release or a limited viewing. I truly hope that this spurs more films like it though. More well crafted movies that actually have characters you can get invested in. There have been so many films this year that have completely failed due to poor character writing. Now, this film isn't perfect. So lets just get the negatives out of the way before we get into what makes this great.

There aren't many problems here. The only big issue for me lies in the films story. It's really not that good. Once you step back to examine it, it's actually pretty by the numbers. If you've seen any heist movie ever than you probably know where this film is going. It follows a very standard formula that rarely deviates from it's by the numbers approach.

But it wasn't until I took a step back that I noticed it. That's due to how well executed it is. It's one of those films that's so finely crafted that you don't really notice it's issues. That's what I loved about the film. It has such great characters that the familiar beats it hits actually feel genuine. Because you get to know these people and you feel like their choices matter to what's happening on screen.

Which came as a breath of fresh air in a time when films have become so predictable and convenient. Our three main characters are played by Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and Ben Foster. Who were all at their very best for this movie. Foster was the weakest of all but when acting across from Bridges, is hard to really stand out. Yet, that is exactly what Chris Pine does. I have never seen him give this kind of performance.

I'm glad to see him taking on nuanced roles that legitimately show his range. It felt almost like his performance in 'Z for Zachariah' but he's far more compelling to watch here. Which really adds to his character. He is the one that you have to feel for most. And his sad yet determined personality really pushed you through the film.

On the other end, Ben fosters character introduced the most conflict to the film. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into his character much but the film respected him enough to not make him the bad guy. It's so easy to make a character like that the films bad guy but he never becomes that person. It respects its characters enough to make them humans with problems instead of saying this guys the bad one and this guy is the good one.

And it's all shot and directed with the utter most care and effort. With nearly every shot you can feel the attention to detail and the work put into making this the way it is. It may not be Alejandro Inarritu levels of ingenuity but I loved seeing effort being put into making the film. It's very rare to see great directing and inventive cinematography in wide release films like this.

'Hell or High Water' is rare breed. It's a great film that got a wide release. There is a lot of love and care put into this and it shows. It's well shot, directed nicely, has a solid score, is brilliantly acted, and offers excellent characters. This is definitely worth going out and seeing. That being said, It falls just short of being amazing. The story is pretty by the numbers and it's ending doesn't really seem to know what it wants to do. However, it remains a great film and is definitely worth supporting in theaters.


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