Hell or High Water

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.

Christian Klose

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