Vive le Proletariat!
I wasn’t expecting to like Hell or High Water very much. Just look at the picture- it’s such a very guy movie, with the rugged West, rugged facial hair, guns, and even rugged-er cowboy hats.
But actually I liked it because, despite failing the Bechdel test (and every other female inclusion test) with a resounding plop, it’s super anti-capitalist!
The plot is as follows (without spoilers): Chris Pine and his older ex-con brother rob banks to get enough money to save their ranch, with Jeff Bridges and partner hunting them down. Still not convinced? Still feel like I could add Lassie and the Pony Express somewhere in there and you wouldn’t be surprised?
Well, the music and acting are also really good.
Here’s a list of some high (or otherwise remarkable) points:
- It has some great humor (such a rarity!) It’s one of the movies where there’s a discussion topic on its IMDb page dedicated to people’s favorite lines.
- I wasn’t super convinced by Chris Pine, but his character seems like he’s supposed to be a bit wishy washy/unconvincing, and all of the other roles are very well acted.
- Jeff Bridges is getting supporting actor Oscar buzz for his very non-PC refusing-to-retire Sheriff. Well-deserved Oscar buzz.
- But Gil Birmingham is so splendid as his long-suffering, brunt-bearing, half-Native half-Hispanic partner.
- Better than observing Texans first-hand. (Kidding?)
- It is a basic heist movie… but it’s a good basic heist movie.
- There’s a final shooting scene very much like Bogart’s in High Sierra.
- I need to hear what other people think of the ending.
And the soundtrack is also pretty good. It gave me a safe space to appreciate some non-canonical country music (i.e. devoid of references to dogs, trucks, and two-timing gals. Okay, maybe one or two two-timing gals. Hard to be faithful to someone who loves country so much).
Here are some guaranteed-safe country songs from the movie or related in some way, according to Spotify. Just to dip your toe in.
- I’m Not Afraid to Die- Gillian Welch
- Sleeping on the Blacktop- Colter Wall
- Dollar Bill Blues- Townes Van Zandt