This film has s a great pedigree including Chris Pine in his best performance to date, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges to go along with screenwriter Taylor Sheridan.
The modern day story is set primarily in west Texas, although the first two bank robberies take place in cities that are actually in north Texas (Archer City and Olney). Toby Howard (Pine) has just buried his mother and her will leaves the property (and oil rights) to his two sons living with his ex-wife (Marin Ireland). The property actually has a reverse mortgage as well as back taxes and is about to be foreclosed by the Texas Midland Bank.
Toby needs $50K to free the property, which of course he doesn’t have. His older brother Tanner (Foster) has been in and out of jail for most of his adult life. Straight as an arrow Toby, backed into a corner believes he has no choice but to rob the small town branches of the bank. An idea that Tanner is clearly behind. While the two brothers couldn’t be more different morally, they come together this one time.
This movie is something of a social commentary on poverty and greedy corporations (in this case, a bank) but it makes the point so artfully and subtly that you don’t feel like you’re being preached to or hit over the head with it – it’s just really thought provoking, in a good way.
This is one of the best movies this year, maybe even the best. Each scene is so well crafted, each performance is exceptional. I haven’t seen one this good in a long while. Makes you feel like watching over and over to savor the acting in each scene. I just got back from seeing it for the second time in theaters and look forward to picking up the bluray once it’s out.
Director: David Mackenzie
Character to watch: Jeff Bridges as Marcus Hamilton.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?