EXCLUSIVE: One of the best movies I saw at this year’s Cannes Film Festival was Hell Or High Water, a very American movie from very Scottish director David Mackenzie. It played very well in the Un Certain Regard competition at the fest, but when it opens August 12 it should play even better here both critically (currently at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and perhaps commercially. In addition to being just an intense and exciting action drama, the film also hits the zeitgeist in terms of being relevant to what is going on in terms of hot-button issues driving the current election season.
The movie, written by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario), is about a couple of brothers played by Chris Pine and Ben Foster who take to robbing banks in order to get money to pay back to those banks to prevent foreclosure of their family-owned ranch which the bank wants because, among other reasons, oil has just been discovered there. Jeff Bridges plays the dogged, about-to-retire Texas Ranger on their tail. The movie touches on economic despair, hatred of cold-hearted banks (and by extension the big money ruling class in America) and so many things fueling anger in this country.
It also touches on race, guns, the breakup of families and society as well as people taking matters into their own hands. As one of the characters says upon learning that the small West Texas towns banks are being robbed, “The banks have been robbing me for 30 years.”
CBS Films has released a new trailer that drives home these aspects of the film. They call it “David Vs Goliath,” and it appears just as the Republican and then Democratic conventions take place. The film, not overtly political at all, doesn’t really take a position one way or the other either as it affects people on both sides of the fence, and the frustration that both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders managed to tap into. Further, CBS Films hopes to provide some smart, alternative counter-programming against summer blockbusters so prevalent in the hot months of July and August and they are hoping word of mouth will help fuel box office.
The movie opens limited on August 12, going wide on August 19. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Oscar campaign if it catches on.
Check out the trailer above.