Hell Or High Water appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a satisfying presentation.
Sharpness was almost always strong. A few wide shots showed a smidgen of softness, but those were minor instances. The majority of the movie looked accurate and concise. I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge enhancement never manifested itself. In addition, the film failed to display any print defects.
Like most modern thrillers, this one opted for stylized hues, with an emphasis on teal and amber/orange. Within those constraints, the colors seemed fine; they showed appropriate range. Blacks were dark and full, and shadows showed good range. This was a consistently fine presentation.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Water also worked well. Various action elements offered the most active use of the spectrum. This was especially true during pieces with weapons fire and fights, and a few other sequences used the channels in a satisfying way.
The action scenes didn’t emerge on a frequent basis, but when they appeared, they utilized the soundscape in an engrossing manner. Music also made active use of the different channels.
Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music showed good range and vivacity, while effects worked nicely. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with solid low-end response and positive definition. All of this added up to a “B”.
As we shift to extras, we find a few featurettes. Enemies Forever runs 13 minutes, 36 seconds and offers comments from screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, producers Julie Yorn and Carla Hacken, director David Mackenzie, and actors Gil Birmingham, Ben Foster, Chris Pine, and Jeff Bridges.
The piece looks at story/characters, themes and inspiration. A lot of this seems perfunctory, but a few insights emerge – along with spoilers, so don’t watch “Enemies” if you’ve not already seen the film.
During the nine-minute, 28-second Visualizing the Heart of America, we hear from Mackenzie, Sheridan, Yorn, Foster, Hacken, and production designer Tom Duffield. “Heart” examines sets and locations as well as design and cinematography. “Heart” offers a good look at the movie’s visual choices.
Next comes Damaged Heroes. It goes for 12 minutes, 24 seconds and includes info from Yorn, Pine, Hacken, Foster, Mackenzie, Bridges, Birmingham, and actors Katy Mixon, Marin Ireland and JP Howard. “Heroes” discusses cast and performances. Some of this tends toward the usual praise, but we find a mix of useful notes along the way.
A trip to the Red Carpet Premiere fills a mere one minute, 53 seconds. As expected, it shows footage from the movie’s Austin debut. It acts more like a promo than anything else.
Finally, we locate a Filmmaker Q&A. It takes up 29 minutes, 51 seconds and provides a panel with Mackenzie, Bridges, Pine, Foster and Birmingham. They chat about story/characters, cast and performances, influences/inspirations, aspects of the shoot, and related areas.
Filmmaker panels rarely offer more than promotional material, and this one doesn’t buck that trend. We get a few thoughtful comments but much of the piece focuses on praise. That makes it a mediocre discussion.
The disc opens with ads for Blood Father, The Duel, Mechanic: Resurrection and Sicario. No trailer for Water appears here.
A second disc offers a DVD copy of Water. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.
At no point does Hell Or High Water offer a revolutionary experience, as it provides a drama that likes of which we’ve seen many times in the past. Despite its potential for cliché, the film works, as it boasts rich characters and involving situations. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio as well as average bonus materials. Water offers a fine update on its genre.