Hell Or High Water

I am going to be honest here. I am not a fan of the writer Taylor Sheridan’s work. I respect him as a writer and have learned and have been inspired from the simplicity of his work, in his writing. Another thing to note in Hell Or High Water or any other of his scripts is how easily he describes his vision for the screen. He doesn’t hold back in giving references to other literature forms or pop cultural norms. His range is fabulous and as a reader his vision on your head is crystal clear. It is not a grammar for everyone. It definitely is an acquired taste. The next thing is how he immerses himself and you as a reader through adapting the language of the world he is picturing and the character he is portraying in his stories. For instance, if a character is, say a racist white man. The script would then not hold back on being a racist and not just in his dialogues but even in the action description. This is why his films are consistent and also have a symmetric shape. Unlike other scripts of his, this is most probably the one that I do not connect with. Meaning, obviously, that I saw this film the most times. Still I find the tone of the film too dry to make me empathize with any characters. I have now convinced myself that it is the factor of filling out the bank forms that disenchants me to buy into this western-heist thriller. I know that it is not all about banking or at least not where the film takes place. But somehow I feel the tone of the film being similar to sitting in a bank. It is all formal. That is what I take from this. A formal respectful introduction to the gritty rituals and rigmaroles of a dirty western-heist genre film that you expect and is installed in the narration with a good sense of maturity and smart filmmaking in the head. Toby Howard, neither a catalyst nor fully a passive character, is a protagonist that would hardly communicate to anyone. Not to forget that there isn’t enough empathy present in it for you to relate and care for him, it’s just that those factors never take charge in his actions or ever pedals his character forward into narration. What was all missing in action in Toby’s character, I found it completely brimming in Tanner Howard’s personality. He is the epitome of danger that makes such films, stories juicier whenever it is threatened with boredom. The script, to me, never actually dips down. But then it also never lifts up. It was all flat. From the start to finish. I wish I could see the crime or the drama behind the story. I just never got past understanding the characters and what made them rise up the next day in the morning with any or such energy. Hell Or High Water, I don’t even get that.

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