Genre Grandeur – Hell or High Water (2016) – Michael Eddy

For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Western Crossover Movies, here’s a review of Hell or High Water (2016) by Michael Eddy (@michaeleddy6)

Thanks again to Kira of Film and TV 101  for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Ashleigh of The Movie Oracle and it is Spoof/Parody Movies.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of November by sending them to

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Ashleigh!

Let’s see what Michael thought of this movie:


First one that popped into my head – probably because it was my favorite movie of 2016. This one is excellent. Written by Taylor Sheridan – it’s a modern day Western if ever there was one. Bank robbing brothers. Cowboys on horseback herding cattle (away from a brush fire). Indians (in Indian casinos). Texas Rangers. Wild shootouts. It has it all.


The story of 2 brothers – down on their luck, whose mother has just died. One – the “good” brother and his outlaw sibling – just out of prison – hotheaded and wild. Their mother was taken advantage of from her sickbed by some unscrupulous bankers – who got her to take a loan which she had no way to pay back. Knowing that her farm – which has been in the family for generations – has oil on it – their plan is to have her die, unable to pay back the loan and interest – and then seize her property. Living on the property is the good brother’s ex-wife and his two sons.


In a scheme to get back the land – he and his brother rob a series of banks – all the ones owned by the parent company that wrote the bad loan to their mother – planning to use the bank’s own money to pay off the loan by the deadline and keep the farm – and the oil.


Chris Pine and Ben Foster are both excellent as the two brothers. As are Jeff Bridges (Oscar nominated) as the Texas Ranger and Gil Birmingham who plays his put upon Native American/Mexican Ranger partner, who has to endure his casual racial slurs while they ride around together trying to catch the bandits. Every single role – right down to the smallest cameo is expertly cast and played by a wonderful ensemble of actors.


It captures its time and place (now – Texas where people can’t make a living and are in danger of losing all they’ve worked for all their lives. Some growing desperate enough to resort to desperate measures. Some having given up with nothing to live for and nothing to lose) beautifully. The vistas and small towns portrayed reminded me of The Last Picture Show.


It starts fast and never takes it’s foot off the gas. Rugged and on the edge and topical and funny and heart-breaking and explosive. A modern Western in the league of such classics as Lonely Are The Brave with Kirk Douglas which it reminded me of in some ways.


One of my favorite scenes – and every one in the movie is a small gem – takes place in the Indian casino where the boys go to “wash” the stolen money after each robbery. The tough brother gambles alone at a poker table where he draws the ire of a real Native American. He asks if the man is Comanche. He nods. “Lord of the Plains” he replies, with a tinge of sarcasm. “Lord of nothing any more…” says the Comanche. The brother gathers up his winnings and starts to go. The man stands up to block his way, slowly removing his dark glasses. “You know what Comanche means?” he asks the brother, “Means hatred.” “Who do you hate?” the brother asks. “Everybody” is the reply. “Then you know what that makes me?” the brother asks him, eye to eye, “Comanche”. He puts his sunglasses on and walks away.

One thought on “Genre Grandeur – Hell or High Water (2016) – Michael Eddy

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur October Finale – No Country For Old Men (2007) – Film and TV 101 |

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