As a genre pic, "Hell or High Water" is anything but groundbreaking, but its execution is nearly flawless. And that counts for a lot.

As a genre pic, "Hell or High Water" is anything but groundbreaking, but its execution is nearly flawless. And that counts for a lot.

It takes a relatively simple cops-and-robbers theme, drops it deep in the heart of Texas and doesn't skimp on complex characters or moral dilemmas. On a small budget, it delivers one of the best flicks of the summer.

After years spent apart, Toby (Chris Pine) and his ex-con older brother Tanner (Ben Foster) reunite in their West Texas hometown to plot a string of bank robberies. The opening scene sets a tense tone, as we watch them rob a bank branch just as it opens, driving off with a bundle of cash and a surge of adrenaline.

Elsewhere, we meet grizzled Texas Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges), who looks at this case as a potential last chance to stave off the boredom of his pending retirement. Yes, he's on the verge of retiring. They definitely aren't reinventing the wheel here.

With the help of his half-Comanche partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham), Marcus sets out on the trail of the brothers as they plot a series of methodical, low-level heists that of course escalate in stakes.

"Hell or High Water" delivers a modern nouveau Western very much in the vein of "No Country for Old Men." Its gorgeous photography and complex, gritty characters also evoke some of the feel of the great first season of "True Detective." Oh, and there's a little of Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" in there. Does that sound awesome to you? Because it is.

Let's start the praise with the screenplay by Taylor Sheridan, who also penned last year's utterly fantastic drug-war tale "Sicario." He takes classic genre tropes and archetypes and adds layers that reveal themselves organically. This tale doesn't blaze new ground, but it's so solidly constructed and taut it still feels fresh.

Director David Mackenzie creates most of the tension in the characters, making the punctuating action even more tense and impactful. Even though this is a pulpy genre flick at heart, he displays great respect for his audience. That's too rare these days.

Though it's too testosterone-heavy, "Hell" plays out both of its male relationships - brothers and partners - with depth, thanks to the uniformly great performances. It should come as little surprise, but Foster shines, and Bridges? Well, he could see another Oscar nod if memories last long enough.

You still need another reason to watch this? OK, how about a score by Nick Cave and frequent collaborator and Bad Seed Warren Ellis? Yeah, just go see this.