- A former bank robber praises Hell or High Water for its realistic portrayal of bank robbery scenes, noting details like driving with windows down during escapes.
- Bank robbers in the movie choose to demand loose cash instead of bundles to avoid dye packs and tracers, a smart tactic but limits the amount of money they get.
- The portrayal of a customer with a firearm in the bank is a realistic concern for bank robbers, who often monitor the behavior of individuals entering and exiting the bank.
Taylor Sheridan’s acclaimed bank robbery movie Hell or High Water is getting a unique bit of praise from a former real-world bank robber. The 2016 neo-Western crime drama centered on West Texas brothers Toby and Tanner as they rob a series of banks in the hopes of saving their family ranch when their mother dies and leaves it in debt. Chris Pine and Ben Foster led the ensemble cast of Hell or High Water alongside Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katie Mixon, and Amber Midthunder.
Insider recently sat down with former bank robber Cain Vincent Dyer for a break down of some of the most iconic movies involving the crime. While looking at Hell or High Water, Dyer had nothing but praise for the project from Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan, taking note of some of the smaller and realistic details featured in the movie’s robbery scenes, including the central characters driving with their windows down during their escape, making them seem like any other driver on the road. Check out Dyer’s explanation in the quote and video below:
The first thing people will think is, “Well, why are you speeding off?” That is just absolute adrenaline. Once the guy told him to slow down, they roll down both windows. That is something that I actually intentionally did. Typically, you would assume someone who is trying to get away from something, they would be trying to be as incognito as possible. One of the bank robbers demanding only loose cash, not bundles, there’s this belief among bank robbers that so much of the money that comes in the bundles have either dye packs that will explode once you get a certain amount of feet away from the bank, or will have tracers in them — which is true. I’ve come across a tracer before. If it’s a bundle, it will typically be right in the middle. They believe that grabbing just loose currency would prevent them from coming across a dye pack or a tracer. Pretty smart, but it does limit the money you get. In this scene, we see that the customer has a firearm. That is a huge concern among bank robbers — at least it was for me — which is one of the reasons why before I went into the bank, I would absolutely do my homework, I would monitor citizens coming in and out of the bank, how they walked, if they seemed aggressive, if they seemed like they’d go more with the program. Safe to say, that’s why I probably only had one guy come at me within all of those robberies. Fortunately, they didn’t have any weapons. It was very real, with the exception of letting the guy keep the gun, just sitting the gun on the counter. They robbed two banks in the same morning, I’m guilty of that. I knew one bank probably carried a certain amount during that morning, and there was another bank that was in the area. They did it for a different reason, it’s clearly their first robbery, they didn’t get a lot, so their desperation drove them to do a second one within the same day. That was very real, I’ll give it an 8 [out of 10].
How Hell or High Water Led To Sheridan’s Biggest Success
At the time of Hell or High Water‘s release, Sheridan had finally found some breakout success in the writer’s chair the year before with the Emily Blunt-led action-thriller Sicario. Much like the Denis Villeneuve-helmed movie, the 2016 title exemplified Sheridan’s unique writing style, tapping into the harsher realms of the world as well as reinvigorating a new form of the Western genre for modern audiences.
While Sheridan went on to find further success after his 2016 Oscar nomination with the 2017 thriller Wind River, the combination of that and Hell or High Water are ultimately what led to his biggest success in the form of the Yellowstone franchise. Co-created by him and John Linson, and written almost exclusively by Sheridan, the Paramount Network show started off scoring mixed reviews from critics, but has since found acclaim thanks to his dedication to a gripping and modern approach to the Western genre.
Many of Sheridan’s frequent collaborators have even found their way to appearing in Yellowstone, including that of Hell or High Water‘s Gil Birmingham, starring as one of the Dutton family’s main rivals, Chief Thomas Rainwater. Though the Kevin Costner-led show may be coming to an end after its star’s infamous exit, Sheridan’s streak won’t be ending any time soon as he develops a Yellowstone sequel show with Matthew McConaughey, a 1944-set prequel and numerous other projects outside of the franchise for ViacomCBS, including Paramount+’s Lawmen: Bass Reeves.