HELL OR HIGH WATER

— by Jeff Schultz

I’ve coined a new word to describe this genre picture: melodramedy. It features two vivid performances and has the fun of what used to be called B-movies — and with a certain type of B-movie populism (evil banks, the common man crushed and forced into crime) as well. Jeff Bridges is effortlessly perfect as the lawman, effaced into the role, you can’t get enough of him. And Ben Foster, who by now has patented his psycho act, goes capably, yes, melodramatic, as well when required. As for Chris Pine, he does a lot of brooding as the darkly handsome “good” brother; it’s kind of a relief when he momentarily comes to life by beating the crap out of a guy at a gas station. That said, Pine holds his own (no small feat) in the final scene, when he finally meets up with Bridges; it’s a perfect wrap-up.

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