Hell or High Water

When I started reading reviews of this movie I knew I’d have to go see it with my dad, because my dad likes Westerns, and he likes Jeff Bridges, and all of the reviews said it was very good. It finally got to the cheap theater by our house, and we went and saw it, and it was everything I hoped for.

It’s modern, and very much set in this moment of financial crisis, but it still has the spirit you want from a Western. The landscape is there, and the music. It’s a compelling story that plays with traditional western tropes, but does enough to be different, and there are some very excellent performances. Highly recommended.

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird

I’ve mentioned before that my dad and I watch westerns together, this showed up on Netflix, so we watched it. I thought it was a lot of fun.

There are three guys, a bounty hunter (the good), a hired gun (the bad), and a goofy thief (the weird), all interested in getting hold of this treasure map and seeing where it goes. They chase after each other, get into fights. Lots of things happen, and at times exactly what’s happening gets a little loose, which might be structural, or could just be that I wasn’t following the subtitles as closely as I could have. Either way, it wasn’t a problem, because it’s a western, and it’s working within a certain set of narratives that are familiar.

It has elements you expect and want from a western — there’s a train robbery, a lot of swagger, horses and shootouts. But it’s all fresh because it’s set in Manchuria right in 1939. It’s very genre savvy, but putting this sort of story in such a different setting puts everything slantwise and creates to play with these tropes without getting dull. The visuals and the music were both excellent, the action scenes were fantastic and felt really new. It has a ton of style, and I really enjoyed it.