Lyric Movie Review: ‘Hell or High Water’ is one of this year’s best films

With relatable themes centering around family bonds and life struggles, the recently released film “Hell or High Water” is captivating.

The movie is about two brothers named Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine) and their struggle in providing for their loved ones. The brothers learn that their family land is at risk of being foreclosed by the banks. Tired and beaten down by the hardships that life has thrown at them, the brothers come up with a plan to take back what is theirs. However, Marcus (Jeff Bridges), a Texas ranger, and his loyal partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham) keep the brothers on their toes, waiting for the second they make one small mistake.


While “Hell or High Water” takes place during recent times, there were similarities shared with old westerns. The actors wore blue jeans and cowboy hats, and they all spoke with a thick Texas twang.

The production of “Hell or High Water” is absolutely stunning. There is a common stereotype that the south is flat, plain and boring, but the camera work used in the film puts these thoughts to rest. While the scenery is not something as grand as what you would find on the cover of “National Geographic,” it absolutely captures the beauty of the unique Texas terrain.

The small town that the story takes place in is also quite captivating. While some might think that there is not much to small country towns, this film makes you want to take a few days off and visit one.

There is also something very appealing about how the characters are portrayed. The actors fit into their roles perfectly. Everything about the actors’ portrayals of the characters are done so well that I am still having a hard time believing that they do not exist.

The problems that they face in the film are relatable to most people. The brothers are trying to figure out a way to protect themselves and their family from being casted off of their land, and desperate times can call for desperate measures. Most people would do whatever they could to protect their loved ones, and that is exactly what these brothers are doing in the film. The struggle and desperation felt almost crushing but in a good way. It was refreshing to see a movie capture that feeling.

The plot was not forced at all. While it took a little bit longer for the audience to discover the full story, the details were revealed in a way that felt natural. I loved how the characters were given so much depth. They had both good strong qualities that helped you empathize with them, but they also have several flaws.

“Hell or High Water” got very dark at certain points. Some of the characters had severe anger issues, so if you are a person who gets uncomfortable with things like violence or unsettling outbursts, then maybe you should avoid seeing this film. But, while the film was rated R for strong violence, the film is not as graphic as other recent action movies.

Final Score: 10/10

It is rare to give a movie a perfect score, and I am not a huge fan of western movies, but I loved this film. It just seemed to hit so close to home with experiences I have had and the experiences I have watched others have. It seemed so much more personal, especially since a lot of original films are not being released at the moment. If it does not seem like something you would necessarily be interested in, I would still strongly encourage you to give this film a chance.

“Hell or High Water” will be screening at the Lyric Cinema Cafe through Oct. 6.