Hell or High Water effortlessly taps into the anger and despair currently fueling much of today’s politics – a climate marked by an increased mistrust towards political and capitalist institutions. It’s maybe the first ‘outlaws vs. cops’ film that sides completely with the outlaws. Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as bank-robbing brothers, getting back at the bank(s) threatening to seize their land. About midway through the film, the Marshalls chasing the brothers (Gil Birmingham & Jeff Bridges) stop, look at a bank and wonder if they’re even chasing the right crooks. The film’s politics couldn’t be any clearer – when faced with a corrupt and corrosive institution, the only course of action is to break the law.
Chris Pine and Ben Foster:
- Chris Pine and Ben Foster on the process of perfecting a West Texas accent
- On dealing with notes on their accents
- On looking to other performances within the Western genre for reference
- On creating a backstory for their characters
- On how much Hell or High Water reflects the political climate of today
- On mixing up big budget films (Star Trek; Warcraft) with smaller pictures like Hell or High Water
- On working with filmmaker David Mackenzie
Here’s the official synopsis for Hell or High Water:
A story about the collision of the Old and New West, two brothers — Toby (Chris Pine), a straight-living, divorced father trying to make a better life for his son; and Tanner (Ben Foster), a short-tempered ex-con with a loose trigger finger — come together to rob branch after branch of the bank that is foreclosing on their family land. The hold-ups are part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that powerful forces beyond their control have stolen from under their feet. Vengeance seems to be theirs until they find themselves in the crosshairs of a relentless, foul-mouthed Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) looking for one last triumph on the eve of his retirement. As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their plan, a showdown looms at the crossroads where the last honest law man and a pair of brothers with nothing to live for except family collide.