Hell or High Water

Hell or High Water

Most bad movies are bad in the sense that their creators make a lot of bad choices in their creation, whether in conception or in execution. The highest honor I'll give this movie is to place it in an entirely separate, much rarer category: a movie that is bad because it is completely artistically and morally bankrupt, so much so that every would-be redeemable quality is totally obliterated by the black hole of tastelessness at the film's center.

There is a gaping chasm between what this film thinks it is (a poignant, grounded examination of the poverty and desolation that defines America's post-industrial heartland) and what it instantly reveals itself to actually be (a fantastical act of masturbation, with only the thinnest veneer of financial-crash strife covering a total reverence for violence and mythical Western individualism it pretends to comment on). It's easy to nail Hell of High Water as a cheap imitation of No Country For Old Men. It is, of course. But more than just failing to meet that high watermark, every terrible music queue, every skull-piercingly bad line of dialogue, and every pornographic shot of Ford trucks rolling down a empty highway reveals this movie not to be a lesser work of art, but rather a product of complete philistinism and soulless fetishism.

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