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Hell or High Water (2016)

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A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family's ranch in West Texas.

Director:

David Mackenzie

Writer:

Taylor Sheridan
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871 ( 96)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 47 wins & 162 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dale Dickey ... Elsie
Ben Foster ... Tanner Howard
Chris Pine ... Toby Howard
William Sterchi ... Mr. Clauson
Buck Taylor ... Old Man
Kristin K. Berg ... Olney Teller (as Kristin Berg)
Jeff Bridges ... Marcus Hamilton
Gil Birmingham ... Alberto Parker
Keith Meriweather ... Rancher
Jackamoe Buzzell ... Archer City Deputy
Katy Mixon ... Jenny Ann
Amber Midthunder ... Vernon Teller
Joe Berryman ... Bank Manager
Taylor Sheridan ... Cowboy
Howard Ferguson Jr. ... Vernon PD Officer
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Storyline

In Texas, after the death of his mother, the unemployed oil and gas worker Toby Howard is losing his ranch to the Texas Midlands Bank. Toby is divorced from his wife who lives with their two sons. When his brother Tanner Howard is released from the prison, they team up to rob agencies of the Texas Midlands Bank to raise money to pay the loan so that Toby may leave the real estate to his sons. Meanwhile the Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton who is near retirement and his Indian descendant partner Alberto Parker try to anticipate the next move of the thieves. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...you damn right I got a gun on me. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 August 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Comancheria See more »

Filming Locations:

Clovis, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$621,329, 12 August 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$26,862,450, 6 November 2016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$26,749,794, 30 October 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was originally titled "COMANCHERIA" but was changed after a title competition between interns at one of the production companies. The title that won was "HELL OR HIGH WATER". However, in some countries (like Spain) the title is "Comanchería", probably because the pun within the original title does not translate properly. See more »

Goofs

The actors in the film state several times that the foreclosure sale of the family ranch will occur on Friday. All foreclosure sales in Texas only occur on the first Tuesday of the month. See more »

Quotes

Toby Howard: I've been poor my whole life, like a disease passing from generation to generation. But not my boys, not anymore.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credit misspelled: There are credits for a "Technocrane Operator," a "Technorane Tech" and a "Technocrane". The second one is misspelled. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Greatest Getaway Drivers (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Dust of the Chase
Written & Performed by Ray Wylie Hubbard
Courtesy of Philo Records
Under license from Concord Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Sometimes a blind pig finds a truffle"
18 March 2017 | by bob-the-movie-manSee all my reviews

Bank robberies have been featured in many hundreds of films since the early days of cinema: The Great Train Robbery for example dates back to 1903! More recent heist classics such as "Oceans 11", "Die Hard", "Run Lola Run" and "The Dark Knight Rises" tend towards the stylised end of the act. Where this film delivers interest is in aligning the protagonists' drivers with the banking and mortgage 'crimes' featured in last year's "The Big Short". Add in to the movie Nutribullet a soupçon of the West Texan setting from Arthur Penn's 1967 "Bonnie and Clyde", turn it on and you have "Hell or High Water".

Chris Pine ("Star Trek") and Ben Foster ("Inferno", "The Program") play brothers Toby and Tanner Howard trying to rescue their deceased mother's ranch from being foreclosed on by Texas Midlands bank. Rather than taking one of the "get out of debt" offers advertised on billboards – cleverly and insistently introduced in long panning highway shots – the brothers have their own financial plan: a scheme that involves early morning raids of the cash drawers of small-town Texas Midlands branches. But the meticulous planning of Toby, as the calm and intelligent one, are constantly at risk of upset by the unpredictable and violent actions of the loose-cannon Tanner.

Since the amounts of cash stolen are in the thousands rather than the millions, the FBI aren't interested and the case is handed instead by aged and grumpy Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges, "True Grit") and his partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham). The pair have a respectful relationship but one built around racial banter, with Hamilton constantly referring to Alberto's Mexican/Comanche heritage. A cat and mouse game ensues with the lawmen staking out the most likely next hits. The sonorous cello strings of the soundtrack portend a dramatic finale, and we as viewers are not disappointed.

The performances of the main leads are all excellent, with Chris Pine given the chance to show more acting chops than he has had chance to with his previous Kirk/Jack Ryan characters. His chemistry with Ben Foster is just sublime. Similarly, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham make for a formidable double act. It is Jeff Bridges though who has the standout performance and one that is Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor. (In fact with Michael Shannon also getting nominated in the same category for "Nocturnal Animals", we can add 'West Texan lawman' to 'Holocaust movies' (a Winslet "Extras" reference there!) as the prime bait for Oscar nomination glory!)

The real winner here though is the whip-smart screenplay by Taylor Sheridan ("Sicario") which sizzles with great lines: lines that make you grin inanely at the screen regularly through the running time."In your last days in the nursing home, you'll think of me and giggle" schmoozes Tanner to the pretty hotel check-in girl: a come-on clearly worth remembering as it delivers the goods, as it were.

The trick here is in building up a degree of empathy and sympathy for the characters on both sides. The 'bad guys' here are successfully portrayed as the banks. Before the 2017 awards, you could get 25/1 odds on this winning the Best Original Screenplay Oscar – but I would personally rate it right up there with "Manchester by the Sea".

Deftly directed by Scot David Mackenzie ("Starred Up") this is a film (the first of two!) that might well have elbowed it's way into my Top 10 of 2016 if I'd seen it during its cinema release. Well worth catching on the small screen.

(For the graphical version of this review, please visit bob-the- movie-man.com).


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