A pair of brothers on the backward road to financial freedom, they are Texan Robin Hoods of sorts. County badge-toting partners in pursuit oddly parallel in partnerships unmatched by most film duos.One brother (Ben Foster – genius in 3:10 to Yuma) is a regular outlaw, always running from trouble, always finding it. He knows he’s bad. He gives himself permission to lie and steal and gamble and cheat and run and kill and fight anyone he can. The other brother, (Chris Pine, showing here his true acting prowess) complex and tortured, fights but holds back, reluctantly moving forward with his plan. His plan. He’s the potentially pure, the wounded, the driven, yet it is his story.The lead Marshall, played perfectly by Jeff Bridges, speaks his mind letting loose racial slurs and profanities, quick judgements and stereotypes. He is surprisingly savvy and astute as he tracks the boys committing the crimes. The partner patiently takes the brunt of the teasing. He is a Christian man, calm though disconcerted by endless jabs from his partner. He talks easily about retirement and afterlife since he knows where he is going.These characters rarely say what they mean in dialogue. It’s brilliant writing that stirs and directs a plot without relying on forced verbiage to drive it. Humans rarely say what they truly mean, why should characters?
It’s Bridges’s character who parallels Pine’s. Both brooding, restless, uncertain, distant. They seek companionship, friendship, and love without resolve. Both have lost and feel they cannot earn it back. Both will pursue it to the end, come hell or high water.