“A Texas Ranger hunts bank robbers in West Texas” may not sound like the setup for a movie set in contemporary times nor does it hint that this was one of the best films of 2016, but both are correct.
Scottish director David Mackenzie, writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) and cinematographer Giles Nuttgens have created a bold, original film that can confidently sit on a shelf with Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise and No Country For Old Men.
The story follows brothers Toby and Tanner (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) on a bank-robbing spree that is being followed, ahem, hunted by Texas Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges in full Tommy Lee Jones mode) and his half-Comanche partner Alberus (Gill Birminham). It's a solid heist story, but it's something a little more too; it's a tale of small-scale justice that is in shocking synch with rebel America.
Rich dialogue. Handsome cinematography. Sizzling soundtrack. Standout performances. It's one of the best films of the year.
Simply put: It's a modern (but sepia-tone) classic that shouldn’t be missed.
Award potential: If Oscar voters remember all the way back to August, it should rack up nominations for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor Jeff Bridges (who milks every line like the pro he is), and Best Score (Nick Cave and Warren Ellis) — maybe more.
The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.