Hell or High Water (2016)

Hell or High Water

Directed by: David Mackenzie

Cinematography: Giles Nuttgens

Starring: Ben Foster, Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham

Runtime: 1h 42m

Genre: Crime, Drama, Western

Rating: ♣♣♣

 

Hell or High Water follows two brothers, Foster and Pine, as they crusade through West Texas with a carefully crafted bank robbing system.  Tepid on their trail are the Texas Rangers, Bridges and Birmingham.  The film falls victim to a few western clichés, the robin hood story and the soon-to-be retired Ranger on board for one last hurrah, however the story has some unexpected turns and is nimble and poignant in terms of lower class society.  The film touches on several relevant themes to the current social climate, including: the banking system, race, greed, and the effects all of these have on the working class. Continue reading “Hell or High Water (2016)”

Nice Guys, The (2016)

Directed by: Shane Black

Cinematography: Philippe Rousselot

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice

Runtime: 1h 56m

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Rating: ♣♣♣♣♣

 

Shane Black’s, The Nice Guys, is one of the best, if not The best, comedy of 2016.  The death of a porn star in the late 70’s sparks an investigation in late 70’s Los Angeles. The story follows Jackson Healy, Crowe, the muscle for hire and Holland March, Gosling, a private eye as they solve the msytery.   Continue reading “Nice Guys, The (2016)”

Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The (2007)

Directed by: Andrew Dominik

Cinematography: Roger Deakins

Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Mary-Louise Parker, Brooklynn Proulx

Runtime:  2h 40m

Genre: Drama

Rating: ♣♣♣♣

 

This film is not just a biographical drama, but a psychological roller coaster. Each role is well written and complex, allowing the actors to really dive in and take the viewer along for the ride.  We learn to love characters we should hate and learn to hate characters we should love.  From the title alone the audience knows where the film is going.  As we get to know the difference between Jesse James the man and Jesse James the myth it becomes challenging to root for his survival or demise.  At the same time, Casey Affleck’s performance is tremendous and conjures up ambivalence that teeters back and forth until the credits.  It is rare that the protagonist in a film is also the antagonist.  In addition to that, the cinematography was stunning and vibrant. Although this film seemed to fly under the radar when it was released, perhaps it was just overshadowed by its contemporaries: There Will be Blood and No Country for Old Men.  I highly recommend this movie.

 

*Image taken from http://www.501mustseemoviesproject.files.wordpress.com