What You Need To Know - January 6, 2017

Hell or High Water: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Hell or High Water: What You Need To Know

Scottish director David Mackenzie has been steadily building a name for himself over the last decade or so, helming a series of relatively low-key – but well-received – films such as Hallam Foe and Starred-Up, as well as co-founding Sigma Films, the production company behind films like Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin.

His latest film, Hell or High Water, sees him team up with Sicario writer Taylor Sheridan for a neo-Western heist adventure that pitches two brothers against a soon-to-be retired local lawman in a race against time to save their family's Texas ranch, by any means necessary.

After performing well at the box office on its release last year, this week sees Hell or High Water arrives in stores on DVD and Blu-ray (you also can find both in our online store using the link on the right-hand side of this page). Here's everything you need to know about it...


Who's in it?

Hell or High Water stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as brothers Toby and Tanner Howard, alongside Jeff Bridges in the role of ageing Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton. Gil Birmingham, who you'll probably know best as Billy Black from the Twilight series of films, appears as Hamilton's sidekick Alberto Parker, while elsewhere there are appearances for True Blood's Dale Dickey, American Housewife's Katy Mixon and Breaking Bad's Kevin Rankin.


What's the plot?

Set in West Texas, the film centres around divorced father Toby Howard and his ex-convict brother Tanner, who find themselves inheriting the family ranch when their mother passes away and discover that the land it is built on has untapped oil fields lurking beneath the surface. Toby, a recently unemployed oil and gas worker, plans to sell off drilling rights for the oil and use the money to set up a trust fund to ensure the financial security of his family.

But there's a problem: their mother had taken out a reverse mortgage on the ranch and her death has left her sons with a debt to Texas Midlands Bank, which neither of the brothers has the funds to repay. With a repayment deadline looming the brothers are facing losing the ranch when the bank threatens to foreclose and repossess their property.

In a desperate attempt to raise the funds, the pair hatch a plan to stage a series of bank robberies – from branches of the very same bank they owe, no less – in order to save their home from repossession, laundering the stolen money through a casino. But a local lawman, the soon-to-be retired Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton, is on their trail and as the brothers become increasingly desperate to raise the funds before the deadline, Tanner begins to get a little careless.


Does it deliver?

While there's nothing particularly new about the cat-and-mouse premise behind Hell or High Water, this stylish neo-Western is as well-written as you would expect from Sicario and Sons of Anarchy scribe Taylor Sheridan and director David Mackenzie draws some outstanding performances from his cast, particularly Chris Pine and the ever-reliable Jeff Bridges, who brings plenty of gravitas to his role as the ageing ranger.

If you've enjoyed some of the recent spate of neo-Western films like Kristian Levring's The Salvation or John McLean's Slow West – or even if you just enjoy an edge-of-your-seat crime caper – then this superbly handled heist flick is well worth your attention. You can find the trailer for the film below...

Hell Or High Water
Hell Or High Water David MacKenzie

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