David Mackenzie’s Hell Or High Water proved to be a surprise hit when it came out in 2016. While it went on to garner many major award nominations, it benefited from an early freedom of anonymity that released audiences from all preconceived notions and expectations going in. Whether you enjoyed the traditional heist storyline play out, the stunning cinematography on show, or its Modern Western feel – it impressively offered something for everyone. If you’re in the mood for more of the same then you’re in luck. We’ve put together a list of movies that all share similarities, from the bleak and gritty aesthetic to the excellent screenwriting from Taylor Sheridan.
Here are our recommended picks for movies similar to Hell Or High Water:
1. Wind River
Starting off with the most obvious and perhaps best choice (if you haven’t already seen it), we have Wind River. Graduating from screenwriting duties (after his phenomenal success with Hell or High Water), Taylor Sheridan not only penned this fantastic Neo-Western murder thriller but he also stepped up to assume directorial duties as well.
If you’re serious about sitting through a true pairing to Hell Or High Water then Wind River ticks all of the boxes. It stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen as two members of law enforcement who are charged with hunting down a murderer on the Wyoming Indian Reservation. With haunting visuals and a suspenseful unease that constantly lingers just beneath the surface, it will hook you early on and delight in taking you along for the ride.
2. No Country For Old Men
Moving along, we have the Coen Brothers return to form with their critically acclaimed Western-thriller No Country For Old Men. Released back in 2007, this modern great is another movie that blurs the lines. Viewed by some as a straight thriller and by others as belonging strictly to the Western genre, it delights in subverting any and all expectations.
Based on the novel of the same name, at its core, it involves an unflinching killer who picks up the trail of an army veteran after he finds a haul of cash from a drug deal gone wrong. There’s no doubt that Jeff Bridge’s character and performance (in HoHW) is largely inspired by Tommy Lee Jones’ in No Country for Old Men. If it’s been a while since you last saw it, then you can’t go wrong with this one.
3. The Rover
Continuing along with another Modern-Western, this time swapping the plains of Texas for the Australian outback, we have David Michod’s extremely underrated entry – The Rover. Sharing similar themes of bleakness and despair after the economic fallout, it involves a dystopian future where lawlessness rules the day. Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce star as two strangers who team up to survive in the barren plains while setting off to retrieve a stolen possession. While it’s undoubtedly a much more sombre and gritty affair than Hell Or High Water, if those themes are what you’re looking for then you’ll find a lot to like about The Rover.
Next up we have Denis Villeneuve’s quick trigger action-thriller Sicario. This tightly wound and breathtaking feature merits an inclusion due to another screenwriting masterclass from Taylor Sheridan. With more blockbuster action on display, it marks a deviation away from the Westerns we’ve covered up until now. But if you’re specifically looking for something with a bit of a faster tempo and you’re a fan of Benicio del Toro and Emily Blunt, it’s certainly worth watching again.
5. The Place Beyond The Pines
Perhaps the wildcard entry on our list, we have Derek Cianfrance’s 2012 crime drama – The Place Beyond the Pines. If you liked Chris Pine and Ben Foster’s brazen bank robbing heists then you’ll similarly enjoy Ryan Gosling’s visceral efforts. But apart from the initial flash and excitement of the cops v robbers, it’s a story that runs much deeper and is centered around themes of family and fate. Much like Hell Or High Water, it’s brilliant cinematography makes it well worth watching.
6. Hold The Dark
For our penultimate entry we have Jeremy Saulnier’s gripping 2018 action-thriller – Hold the Dark. Starring well-known names such as Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgard and James Badge Dale, the story is centered upon a remote Alaskan village where young children begin to start disappearing. Much like Hell Or High Water, its desolate and unsettling aesthetic will ensnare your attention as it sets up a thrilling climax.
7. Shimmer Lake
And last but not least, we have one of our favorite movies from 2017, Oren Uziel’s self-written and directed crime-thriller – Shimmer Lake. While it was released largely under the radar, it is a massively entertaining flick that has close parallels to Hell Or High Water. It involves another bank robbery and investigating Sheriff, but this time the brothers are divided as one of them is suspected to be involved in the heist. With well-rounded performances from Benjamin Walker, Wyatt Russell and Rainn Wilson, if you made it this far without fancying any of the previous choices, maybe this one is what you’re looking for.