"Disenfranchisement, the sense that institutions have abandoned folks, the passing of the old, the wounds of the country — it was in there from the start," admits the film's director David Mackenzie (Starred Up).
The fact that the lawman is played by Jeff Bridges only adds another layer to the film's throwback vibe — Mackenzie wanted the actor to portray the veteran marshal who affectionately ribs his Native American buddy with racist banter, partially because he's a fan (the director immediately namechecks Fat City and Heaven's Gate) and partially because "I knew it would tap into his own iconography and past, especially his work in the 1970s.
I love the connection of the DNA of some of my favorite films of the era, you know ...
The robberies that the brothers commit have a personal impetus, involving the family home and the threat of foreclosure (they're literally paying off the bank with their own pilfered money).
"I mean, maybe, if he'd given me his flip-flops and one of the Lebowski sweaters, that might have made it better.