I'm probably not going to give Hell or High Water the attention it deserves. I saw it more than a week ago, and have since been preoccupied with a medical procedure which is now thankfully over. I found much to like about the film, and I've read some interesting criticism, but the movie hasn't stuck in my mind, so this will be unfairly brief.
I was surprised to find out that Jeff Bridges received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Hell or High Water. Not that his performance wasn't worthy ... Bridges is one of our most consistently fine actors. But I thought he played the main character. That's just silly. Chris Pine and Ben Foster as bank-robbing brothers are the clear leads. But I felt Bridges' presence throughout the film, and it was only in retrospect that I realized his was a supporting role.
That's not to belittle the performances of Pine and Foster, who are fine. But Bridges brings along the memories of the 80+ movies he has been in. We are familiar with him, he fits us like the proverbial glove. And that is appropriate here, when he plays a Texas Ranger on the verge of retirement whose mind is sharp and whose detective skills are solid. Bridges is just there, we trust him, he doesn't have to chew the scenery (and there is some beautiful scenery here). Ben Foster has that covered.
Hell or High Water doesn't revitalize the Western, as some have claimed. It proves that there is still a market for a good film that falls into the Western genre, but it's kind of like Bridges' ranger: there's a lot to like, but it's ready for retirement.
Mackenzie doesn't overplay his hand. The banks are the bad guys here, but not as blatantly as in, say, Bonnie and Clyde. He barely takes a false step, which makes Hell or High Water easier to watch than other, more flamboyant, films. It doesn't reach the peaks, but it regularly comes close to the top. #371 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century.