chris pine proves he's more than just an action star in "Hell or high water"
In "Hell or High Water" Chris Pine and Ben Foster are two brothers out to get a bit of their own brand of justice. Pine's "Toby" is a nice enough guy, divorced with two boys and owes so much child support he hasn't seen them in a couple of years. He's spent the last several months taking care of his tying mother. Toby has teamed up with his brother, "Tanner," and ex-con, played by Foster. The brothers stand to inherit their late mother's property, but we discover it's been mortgaged to the bank in order to help cover the cost of her final care. In an effort to pay of the mortgage, they've come up with a play to steal money from the bank before it's due. Pine's "Toby" takes the role of the gentleman robber, not wanting to hurt anyone but the bank. Foster's "Tanner" brings a brutality to the heists. There's a fire festering beneath his exterior, but we don't learn why at first. Slowly it's revealed the brothers were brutalized in their childhood and "Tanner" has been in jail for his part in evening the score.
Jeff Bridges joins the cast as a Texas Ranger on his last rodeo. He's up for retirement but wants to go out with one last notch on his belt. He travels the state, trying to get into the minds of the robbers. The East Texas where the film is set is a bleak place, hit hard by the Great Recession. Folks are struggling to get by and don't have much sympathy for the bank, but they still don't want anyone robbing it. The screenplay by Taylor Sheridan is wry with humor as dry as a Texas tumbleweed. Director David Mackenzie does a wonderful job of making the audience root for the robbers while still wanting Bridges' ranger to get his men.
Hell or Highwater is a boon for Pine, who's proved he can do the action hero thing and even sing. He puts in a subtle performance here as a man bent on doing what he feels needs to be done for a greater good. Hell or High Water is what good moving making is all about.