One of the most pleasant surprises out of the Summer movie season is “Hell or High Water” from director David Mackenzie. The film stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as two brothers who rob multiple branches of a bank that is foreclosing on their family’s land (with Jeff Bridges as the sheriff closing in on them). Critics fell in love with the movie, including our own Nik Grozdanovic. In a new video from the New York Times, Mackenzie breaks down the opening scene, showing how just the first 4 minutes can set the stage for a modern Western heist film.
From the first frame, “Hell or High Water” throws you in the deep end as you follow a car that’s up to no good in a small Texas town. The town feels empty, the buildings are old, and the characters don’t say much, but the acting informs the audience instantly about what’s going on. The director’s commentary shows how even the color of the sky was a purposeful decision. As the scene plays out, you can see how each shot was created with painstaking detail.
For those who have yet to see the film, the clip doesn’t give anything away, but allows for people to fully understand that this isn’t just a run of the mill thriller. This is a film that will be on many “Top Films of the Year” lists. Meanwhile, Mackenzie just signed on to helm another neo-Western, a USA pilot called “Damnation,” per The Hollywood Reporter.