Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Ten Best Films of 2016: #2

David Mackenzie's West Texas-set "Hell or High Water" - from an Oscar-worthy script by "Sicario" scribe Taylor Sheridan - offers two sets of mismatched travelers: bank-robbing brothers Tanner (Ben Foster), the loose cannon, and Toby (Chris Pine), the laconic and level-headed one who wants to steal just enough, and in small enough increments, to prevent the foreclosure of their family farm; and the cops chasing them: Marcus (Jeff Bridges), a curmudgeonly coot weeks away from forced retirement, and Alberto (Gil Birmingham), his part-Native, part Mexican partner, who bears the brunt of Marcus' politically incorrect yet hilarious ramblings. Special mention should be made of two actresses who play waitresses: Katy Mixon, who hasn't seen anyone like Chris Pine come along before, and Margaret Bowman, who in an instant-classic scene bellies up to Marcus and Alberto at a joint called the T-Bone and asks, "What dun't you want?" You can order whatever you'd like, but you're getting a steak, medium rare, and either green beans or corn on the cob. So…what dun't you want? Bridges deserves an Oscar for his work - he owns the picture, and just keeps improving with age - and Pine shows dramatic acting ability to go with his magnetic looks. The brilliant ending leaves you thinking long after the lights have gone up. This is one of the very best and certainly most entertaining films of 2016.

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