Starring: Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Dale Dickey, Amber Midthunter, Katy Mixon (Rated MA – 102 min).
Complex, harsh, contemporary western packs a punch, a brilliantly intense look at brotherhood and what lengths someone would go to for family.
Tanner (Ben Foster) and Toby (Chris Pine) are siblings with underlying motivations to pull off a series of heists across multiple banks in the Texas midland taking less than one thousand dollars per hit in an attempt to keep their actions a low priority with authorities.
Tracking the robberies is Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), the grizzled Texas Ranger who has seen everything making it his mission to catch up with the wild boys on the run. Oscar winner Bridges is one of the few true Hollywood modern screen legends, however let’s not talk about Seventh Son (2014) and lean more towards excellent recent turns in True Grit (2010) and Crazy Heart (2009). He is made for this role in the ten gallon hat.
World weary Ranger Hamilton is funny, tender then suddenly obnoxious. He says what he thinks but judges fairness due to a layer of grief which he holds on to. Determined to lay down the law, his pursuit of criminals changes with the profiles and early on, he has a feeling these brothers may be relatively harmless, just in need of survival cash.
Not your average western, be prepared, it’s slow burning. Written by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario), he certainly knows how to wind-up a plot to challenge conventional storytelling. Cinematography tonally shows landscapes of Texas in sharp focus although most of it is anything but pretty in favour of beaten up caravans, oil wells and pastures of dead grass. Complementing the outstanding film is a soundtrack featuring a bunch of moody, scene appropriate music from Nick Cave.
Foster and Pine have their chemistry perfected as total opposites but solid brothers in arms. While all grown up child star Amber Midthunder (Sunshine Cleaning – 2008) is superior in limited screen time. Charasmatic Bridges is the backbone of the heavy themes grappled with, while a few twists to the tale just when you think everything is sorted only extends the suspense.
Shane A. Bassett