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Film releases: Robbers bank on saving ranch

Hell or Highwater (15,102 mins)

By Damon Smith

Published 09/09/2016

Family woes: Chris Pine as Toby Howard
Family woes: Chris Pine as Toby Howard

Toby Howard (Chris Pine) is determined to save his family's Texas ranch from foreclosure by robbing banks with his fiery-tempered brother, Tanner (Ben Foster).

They plan to hit several branches of Texas Midland, which they hold responsible for their financial woes, and use the ill-gotten gains to secure a legacy for Toby's embittered ex-wife Debbie (Marin Ireland) and two sons. The opening heist of a branch managed by Mr Clauson (William Sterci) goes smoothly, but as the deadline for foreclosure looms, the siblings take risks to reach their target.

Their larcenous activities pique the interest of cantankerous Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), who is poised to retire after years of dedicated service.

"I don't know how you are going to survive without somebody to outsmart," quips Hamilton's half-Comanche partner Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham), who suffers a barrage of playful jibes on account of his mixed heritage. The case gathers momentum and Hamilton and Parker edge closer to their prey.

Hell Or High Water is another triumph for director David Mackenzie, who expertly navigates the shifting relationships between men of shared blood and purpose.

Captain Fantastic (15, 118 mins)

Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Leslie (Trin Miller) raise their six-strong brood in relative isolation so the children won't be tainted by capitalism or organised religion.

The youngsters - Bodevan (George MacKay), Kielyr (Samantha Isler), Vespyr (Annalise Basso), Rellian (Nicholas Hamilton), Zaja (Shree Crooks) and Nai (Charlie Shotwell) - learn to live off the land and fire their imaginations by reading classics like The Brothers Karamazov and Middlemarch.

Alas, Leslie has bipolar disorder and she eventually takes her own life while undergoing treatment at a hospital. Ben wants to take the children to the funeral, but Leslie's father Jack (Frank Langella) forbids him from attending.

"Grandpa can't oppress us," argues Zaja and the family boards their ramshackle bus, christened Steve, and heads to New Mexico to give Leslie the Buddhist cremation she requested in her will.

En route, the Cash clan experiences eye-opening encounters with Ben's sister Harper (Kathryn Hahn) and her husband Dave (Steve Zahn). Captain Fantastic lives up the superlative of its title, compelling us to care deeply about the wounded characters as they search for peace and unity in a world of bitter conflict.

Belfast Telegraph

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