A David Mackenzie film. In english with german subtitles.
“You’re new at this, aren’t ya?“ the bank teller in the first bank asks brothers Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby Howard (Chris Pine, STAR TREK) when nothing goes according to plan on their first robbery. The old cowboy in the second bank is more annoyed about these wannabe outlaws stealing his colt than anything else and opens fire. The Howard brothers are on one mission: they have to get enough money by Thursday for the family farm that has crude oil under it. What else can you do it if your only skill is violence? Robbing banks is pretty old-school. Texas ranger Marcus Hamiltion (Jeff Bridges), who has this case to solve before entering boring retirement, thinks so too. Instead of making an effort with databases, he prefers observing the bank from a saloon on the other side of the street. He will be there all night if he has to be.
The Texas of HELL OR HIGHWATER is imbued with melancholy and nostalgia. The bandits and the sheriffs aren’t the only relics from a simpler time, everyone there is fighting for survival and is dreaming of a better past or future. The film is aware of the contradictions yet still brings the genre rules of the classic western to the modern era. Instead of galloping with a horse on the prairie, they drive with alternating cars across ghost towns with closed shops and decay. It all looks great of course. And as a point of honor: there’s a duel in the end. Jeff Bridges, Hollywood’s current first choice when it comes to “old sheriffs” makes Hamilton both stubborn and charming, and Pine and Foster’s bandits are multifaceted characters and not clichés. But no one should piss them off if they care about staying alive because they draw fast in Texas.
Translation: Elinor Lewy
USA 2016, 102 Min., engl. OmU
Regie: David Mackenzie
Drehbuch: Taylor Sheridan
Musik: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
Darsteller: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham