The opening of the film is fast and straight into the action which you would expect from acclaimed director David MacKenzie (Starred Up) and writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario). Set in Texas, the story follows two brothers Toby, Chris Pine (Star Trek, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), and Tanner, Ben Foster (The Programme, Lone Survivor).
Following the death of their mother the brothers reunite to put her affairs back in order as the bank is trying to repossess the family ranch. Tanner has done time, and you sense some resentment, regret and a search for redemption as he was unable to care for his mother in her final days. This is also reflected in Toby as he is estranged from his children from a failed marriage.
Toby and Tanners’ mother had been encouraged to borrow more money than she could pay back by the bank in an unethical bid to repossess the family ranch and the two brothers have a plan to rectify the situation – robbing them and all their branches. There is a real sense of poverty surrounding the brothers as they reflect on their past and a hardness coming from the way their father had treated them. This adds depth to both characters and contributes to the explanation of their behaviour.
Trying to capture the bank robbers is a Marshal called Marcus, Jeff Bridges (True Grit, Crazy Heart), and his half-Comanche partner Alberto Parker, Gil Birmingham (The Twilight Saga, The Lone Ranger, House of Cards). The relationship between Marcus and Alberto is clearly close yet some of the banter is close to the knuckle. The undercurrent of the film is of the underdog seeking recompense from the system which oppressed them; whether this is the brothers taking back from the bank who victimised their mother or the longer standing issues in the country.
The film feels like a modern day Western with the bad guys robbing banks, pursued by the good whom will never back down – there is even a comment about those days being long gone referencing this. Adding to this is a cameo from Buck Taylor (Dallas, Tombstone, Cowboys and Aliens), reminiscent of the many films in this genre he has played a part for decades.
Cinematography is amazing adding real quality and showing some stunning panoramic scenes of the Texas terrain along the way. Adding to this the suitability and choice of music, quality of acting and depth of character, this really is an enjoyable film with everything tying together seamlessly.