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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Come 'Hell or High Water' will win an Oscar (or two...)


Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster, and Chris Pine in Film 44's   Hell or High Water


Dear Carla, Rafi will like this one!

It's rough and tumbly stuff, made for men and women who enjoy good drama, rat-a-tat-tat dialogue, action, choice acting, and musical effects to build suspense and add to  cinematographic effects (by Giles Nuttgens.  In quieter moments with the sky as backdrop, you may think you're in a Santa Fe gallery, but not for long). 
Ben Foster (left) and Chris Pine in Film 44's Hell or High Water


Hands down, no question, Hell or High Water will win Oscar nominations, maybe (my call) seven or eight to include "Best Picture" and is it possible for one film to zap 60 percent of the "Best Actor" nominees?  Good, for in this case "Best Actor" nominations go to:

1. Jeff Bridges, the curmudgeonly Texas Ranger;

2.  Chris Pine, the fall-down-dead-breathless lady killer and bank robber, assisted by his son-of-a-gun criminal brother, 

3. Ben Foster.

And not to overlook "Best Supporting Actor" in his biggest role yet, Gil Birmingham who plays Chief Ranger's sidekick.
(If there were an Oscar for casting, I'd nominate the film's Jo Edna Boldin and Richard Hicks.)

Nominations are also in order for David Mackenzie, Best Director, and for Taylor Sheridan, Best Original Screenplay.

Until friends who saw the film on opening weekend told me it had earned 98% and 90% at Rotten Tomatoes (the first score is the critics', and the second and more important rating is by the audience which is generally not swayed by producers, friends, directors, reputations, etc.), it's likely I would have skipped Hell or High Water altogether. 

You like guns?  Take a gander at the display.


Hell has a bit of Bonnie and Clyde (for the two percent who remember it) and a hint of Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? (mostly without the humor. Hell tries a trifle too much to make funny with the Native American jokes, which, after a while, become old and repetitious.  This is not Andrew Jackson taking out the Indians on the "Trail of Tears," folks.)

The language is harsh, natch, and the sex is minimal, but the two women who come along (Katy Mixon and Marin Ireland) are excellent, despite criticism I have read about the script's stereotypical female roles. Feminists (I am): Don't let it keep you from seeing this movie!

Mr. Sheridan skilfully weaves the painful, underlying issue of lifelong poverty throughout the tale, and you gotta hate the banks even more. 

Especially "reverse mortgages" which the banks still promote as the best thing for the elderly since oatmeal.  A reverse mortgage made hell for the brothers' mother at the end of her life, but her sons took their guns to town and got revenge.  

Why do we root for the bad guys to get away?  How much of ourselves are in the characters we see?

patricialesli@gmail.com




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