Hell or High Water: Movie and Music


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.

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