I finally had a chance to see Hell or High Water; I still do not understand why the film has not had wider release; the theater was packed for an early showing on August 27. The film is definitely worth tracking down.
I had sensed from the trailers that we would be somewhere in Larry McMurtry’s Texas; there are three very pointed references to Archer City; that town’s fame rests upon McMurtry and that famous bookstore of his. Many landscape shots remind me of Hud and The Last Picture Show. I can also see the influence of such films as No Country for Old Men.
The only cast members I recognized were Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine, both of whom are being mentioned as possible Oscar nominees. The plot involves two scruffy “cowboys” who go on a bank-robbery spree and the wily old Texas Ranger who quickly discerns what is really going on.
At first, the bumbling bandits are slightly amusing, but that illusion does not last long. The second half of the film is violent and some scenes are disturbing. The ending implies more violence to come, but I do not anticipate a sequel.
The film deserves its R rating because of the language and violence, but it is definitely worth seeing.