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film review

Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham in Hell or High Water.

America is no place for old men, and neither is it a place for the Native American, the American commoner and the American Dream.

In the superbly tense Hell or High Water, New Mexico stands in for Texas and a simmering heist film stands in for a bleak present-day western.

Ben Foster and Chris Pine are high-low brothers with an excellent stick-it-to-the-man plan to rob small-time banks. Their wily nemesis is a Texas Ranger (played by Jeff Bridges, of course with folksy panache) on one last crackerjack case before he's put out to pasture.

There's drawl and mosey, but doom hangs like plaid curtains in a cheap motel room. (There's a cheap motel room, too.) Scenic, well-paced and rich in dialogue and character, the film is Coen brothers for the squares, and maybe the best middle-of-the-seat drama of the summer.