Toby is a divorced father with two young boys. His mother leaves the ranch they have to his boys, and furthermore they strike oil on the land, possibly giving them the opportunity to rise out of the poverty that was decimating the region they were in. However, there is still a portion of the loan to be paid on the land, with the bank being prepared and looking forward to foreclosing, and Toby doesn’t have the money to pay the final installment, so it seems quite possible the land and the wealth it could bring his children would escape from their grasp. Hence, he recruits his brother Tanner, who had just gotten out of jail, to help him get the money. They decide they’re going to pay off the loan, and that they’re going to do it with the banks own money, and hence go on a bank robbing spree carefully and intelligently stealing from branches of the bank threatening to foreclose on them, with a pair of sheriffs hot on their trail.
Hell or High Water is a film that has pretty flat characters and a pretty simplistic and predictable plot. It does a good job at showing the plight of the collapsing parts of America and how it can push people that normally wouldn’t do bad things to do bad things. There’s a strong sense of style and atmosphere due to a lot of great shots and music. So there is certainly a lot of value in those terms. But beyond that single purpose, there really isn’t much to it.
A film that showcases what its clearly focused on showcasing, the issues in the forgotten parts of America, but beyond that is pretty forgettable.