Few performances this year were equally as fun as they were sorrowful, and Jeff Bridges’ essential turn in the western “Hell Or High Water” managed to roll both delicate sentiments into each and every line of his dialogue. Bridges — who has made scene-stealing something of a habit of late — is nothing short of masterful in David Mackenzie’s dusty Texas thriller. The film does an excellent job of grounding all its unbridled emotions in each of the four central characters, but Bridges’ Marcus, a Texas Ranger on the verge of retirement, winds up, time and again, pulling the rug out from everybody else with his searching eyes; his natural ease; and the deep, unsettling fear buried in his silences. What seals the deal, though, is Marcus’ relationship with his younger partner, Alberto (an excellent Gil Birmingham), who serves as the butt of Marcus’ dull wit, but who he so clearly depends upon, who seems almost to be his last remaining tie to the world. Needless to say, when that tie is severed, and Bridges falls to his knees in disbelief, our hearts were broken, and his vengeance, his sudden willingness to turn against the laws that defined him, made chillingly good sense.