Toby Howard is a divorcee in West Texas struggling to afford child support of his two sons while nursing his ailing mother as his brother Tanner rotted in jail. With the mother passing away and Tanner back from jail, Toby masterminds a fool proof plan to rob of a series of banks with Tanner’s help to pay off his debts. Tanner’s hot head attitude turns the robberies into high-risk moves and puts them on the radar of Marcus Hamilton, a ranger on the verge of retirement but wants to knock them down on his way out!
Running Time:
102 min
Release date:
09 September 2016
Directed by:
David Mackenzie
Produced by:
Carla Hacken
Julie Yorn
Peter Berg
Sidney Kimmel
Written by:
Taylor Sheridan
Dale Dickey
Ben Foster
Chris Pine
William Sterchi
Buck Taylor
Jeff Bridges
Music by:
Nick Cave
Warren Ellis
Shot by:
Giles Nuttgens
Editing by:
Jake Roberts
Distributed by:
CBS Films
Eagle Films
Madman Entertainment
Paramount Pictures
Shaw Organisation
The Searchers
Wild Bunch Distribution

What’s Hot

  • As a smart man who masterminds bank heists with almost zero pitfalls, Chris Pine makes Toby Howard that kind of a character who is tough to hate despite being a criminal, for he displays kindheartedness at the opportune moments. He also pulls off the perfect poker face in the face of adversity and his camaraderie with his brother is so natural – aloof yet caring enough!
  • Academy award winner Jeff Bridges brings in his A-game as the retiring Texas Ranger with his inimitable humor and the relentless attitude of old-timers that rubs off perfectly on his character as well. His contribution in the climax and the buildup prior to it is vital in terms of the ending having the desired effect on the viewers.
  • The slow pace at which events unfold in the dry and deserted towns of West Texas are complemented by the apt use of camera techniques by Giles Nuttgens with his tracking shots and wide frames capturing more details in the same shot which give us a broader picture about the happenings on screen.
  • Bank robberies could well be the most commonly seen plot lines nowadays, but the screenplay by Taylor Sheridan provides the right impetus to pull the story away from boredom and the narrative doesn’t take sides and remains non-judgmental. The motive behind the robberies is unwrapped in quite the minimalistic of fashions with the climax being the icing on the cake for the mature treatment provided.

What’s Not

  • The infusion of 21st century money politics into this good-old Texas story seems to be taken overboard with Banks shown as Evil and to be the cause of all the suffering for the poor people at every possible opportunity.
  • Jeff Bridges hurling racial abuses at his younger partner just for the sake of insipid humor looks pretty lame and distasteful.




Verdict Stamp

Bank robberies committed by Cowboys in Texas – that’s something not so unique to sell, but “Hell or High Water” has more to offer than just that. Diligent acting and eye-pleasing captures of the Texas landscape, aided by a particularly well-orchestrated screenplay, makes it quite a pulsating western film!