Hell or High Water – 7.7

This film takes place in the same country for old men made familiar by the Coen brothers’ classic, with a jowly Jeff Bridges reprising the role previously played by Tommy Lee Jones. Much less happens here, and that is the movie’s other strength – i.e., besides the gorgeously banal West Texas setting – its remarkable realism. No one here is larger than life; there are no gratuitous killings; our hero doesn’t miraculously dodge a fusillade of bullets; and everyone has a believable motive for what they do. The brothers rob banks – one because he desperately needs the money for his kids, the other because he needs the action. The Texas Ranger works his way through the case, plodding step by step – even recalling my favorite memory of “Maverick” by sitting in a rocking chair, waiting for the crime to come to him. We enjoy the people, the bit characters as well as Chris Pine; and in a clever play on our emotions, we are allowed to be happy that one of the crooks gets away, because it is really The Bank that is the Bad Guy.

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