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1,497 Ratings

Hell or High Water

Directed by David Mackenzie
United States, 2016


A divorced dad and his ex-con brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s farm in West Texas.

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Hell or High Water Directed by David Mackenzie

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

2017 | 4 nominations including: Best Motion Picture of the Year

Independent Spirit Awards

2017 | Winner: Best Supporting Male

2017 | 2 nominations including: Best Screenplay

Village Voice Film Poll

2016 | Nominee: Best Supporting Actor

This bank robbery movie opens with signs dotting the West Texas landscape that say things like 3 TOURS IN IRAQ BUT NO BAILOUT FOR PEOPLE LIKE US, establishing it as the only Oscar-nominated film that grappled with Trump’s America as the train wreck approached. Right up to its unsatisfying, to-be-continued ending, the film’s lugubrious quality marks it as an example of grievance cinema, art-directed for a new era of violent self-pity, economic decline, and racial appropriation.
February 24, 2017
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It gives off all the signals of being a tough, resonant little thriller, except that as scripted by Taylor Sheridan, it’s actually an insultingly pat piece of work. Besides being a desultorily predictable study in contrasts, nutty Tanner (Ben Foster) and noble Toby (Chris Pine) are given such meticulously jerry-rigged motivations for their crime spree—it’s a joint fuck-you to unscrupulous bankers and an abusive father—that the ostensible “moral ambiguity” of the material is actually crystal clear.
January 09, 2017
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Tense, atmospheric thriller that could have done with maybe twelve fewer shots of roadside signs with foreclosure messages or bankruptcy law firms’ numbers on them.
December 27, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Hell or High Water

    Solid western noir. There's an admirable fluidity to the action sequences, and the ending is graceful even if it's exactly what you'd expect. But the highly telegraphed messages of crime, punishment, and inequality in Recession Era America can't quite sustain the illusion—that is, all of the above feel like movie play-acting. But if you're going to play-act, you can't do much better than Jeff Bridges.

  • ig_____or's rating of the film Hell or High Water

    A cool western, where the hillbillies soon reveal themselves to be more cerebral and emotionally complex than expected at first glance. Pine, Bridges and Foster all deliver solid performances, the soundtrack is fitting and the film does look. While it's not on the same league of, let's say, "No Country for Old Men", it nicely combines the fallout of the economical crisis with the despair of the Midwest.

  • HenriqueA's rating of the film Hell or High Water

    From a third-rate actor turned screenwriter and a director who used to somewhat always miss the mark, plus two of my all time least favorite actors, comes this subtle and fully realized neo-western film that even if it's not the masterpiece some people claim it is, still works wonders and then some, especially in its third act. And Jeff Fucking Bridges is awesome. This is the film Andrew Dominik wishes he had done.

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film Hell or High Water

    Brings to mind Andrew Dominik's "Killing Them Softly," another subtle-as-a-jackhammer film that wore its politics on its sleeve. But unlike that 2012 effort, "Hell or High Water" is exceptionally well-written and executed. It's on the shortlist of movies that serve as some kind of signpost as to why millions of Americans decided to walk into a voting booth and flip a roulette wheel by voting for Trump last November.

  • Matthew Martens's rating of the film Hell or High Water

    A high two, mostly because I'm tired of threes. The vastly, vividly empty landscapes, shot with loving longing unless I put those there myself, are what impressed me most about this film, which otherwise grates a bit in its eagerness to please everyone but its banker bogeymen, in opposition to whom it imagines a romantic alliance of all non-moneylending races that's cool with a little well-meant white condescension.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film Hell or High Water

    Hell or High Wate is a low-concept, straight-to-the-point, quietly explosive Texan extravaganza. Mackenzie grounds viewers in a lawless world, one plagued by poverty, debt and the imminence of death, and rewards them with rich character drama and excellent performances.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film Hell or High Water

    Pure calculation. "Hell or High Water" is an elegiac, touching, bitingly funny outlaw story that is exactly the sum of its solid parts; no more, no less. Foster steals the show here as he hasn't since "3:10 to Yuma." Mackenzie doesn't implement Cave & Ellis' mournful score as memorably as John Hillcoat might've, but he does allow the revealing goings on of West Texas plenty of screen time; it all feels fluid, real.

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film Hell or High Water

    From the 1st image (a tag on the wall "3 services in Iraq & still no social security") to the final showdown, this grandiose film reveals - on a country music background - the wounds of deep America. Unforgettable. == De la 1re image ("3 services en Irak & tjrs pas de sécu" tagué sur 1 mur) à la confrontation finale, ce film grandiose montre sur fond de country music les blessures de l'Amérique profonde. Inoubliable.

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