Script Analysis: “Hell or High Water” — Part 5: Dialogue
Scott Myers

My favorite scene is the ending, the confrontation between Toby and Marcus. It feels like it should be a shoot-out. And it is in a metaphorical way. I think Marcus may have drawn on Toby right then and there had Toby not given that long monologue explaining his actions including this line:

“I’ve been poor my whole life, like a disease passing from generation to generation. But not my boys, not anymore.”

At that moment, Marcus gets an answer to his question: Why? Tanner robbed because it was fun and he was part-’crazy’. But why Toby? Toby’s explanation conveys that robbing was a selfless act. He didn’t do it for himself, he did it for his family to break the chain of being poor.

It’s a terrific ending which inverts expectations for a western, even if modern day. And who knows? Maybe at some point the pair will meet up again and they’ll draw on each other.

But not today. And that line of dialogue goes a long way in what keeps a shootout from occurring.

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