The Highwaymen

In 1934, the infamous criminal duo Bonnie & Clyde were seemingly unstoppable. Their crime spree was turning more serious and their body count higher each day. Though they enjoyed almost movie-star status in certain circles, they were an embarrassment to the law enforcement they continued to evade – including Hoover’s FBI men.

The Texas Rangers have long since been disbanded – too lawless, too unsupervised. But Lee Simmons (John Carroll Lynch) manages to convince Texas governor Ma Ferguson (Kathy Bates) that since her new police force has proved ineffectual, perhaps what is needed is just a couple of highwaymen, doing things the old fashioned way.

Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) chafes in his retirement, and though he hasn’t even held a MV5BMjM2NDg5NjQzMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzMyNzI5NjM@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_gun in his hand in years, he doesn’t take much convincing. Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson) is a little more reluctant but pride is a tricky thing.

Following Bonnie & Clyde’s bloody trail is a complicated thing. These criminals are hailed as heroes by some, protected by family and friends. The men discuss whether they could shoot a woman, if it came to that. Neither really want it to come to that, but a job is a job is a job. It’s morally muddy ground maybe, but the script is a little shy about saying so, so it merely tiptoes around these dirty puddles, relying too heavily on the grizzled buddy-cop dynamic of Costner and Harrelson. And it’s not a bad dynamic at that: the two do a good job of seeming beaten down by their lives and their choices. But the movie plays it safe, and frankly, sometimes boring. Well, not boring, exactly, but not nearly as jittery and exciting as you might think literally any movie remotely associated with Bonnie & Clyde would be. But that’s the rub, isn’t it? Police work isn’t all car chases and whizzing bullets. Nor was Bonnie and Clyde’s life of crime nearly as glamourous as it was made out to be at the time. The actual truth is lost to us – no witnesses are alive today, and those that talked at the time tended to conflict each other’s stories quite a bit.

I imagine this movie will appeal most to a certain demographic: those inclined to beaten-up recliners and canned nuts. It’s a bit of a dad movie.

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12 thoughts on “The Highwaymen

  1. raistlin0903

    Well, this movie is certainly one I still want to see, as I always like this type of movie. My parents saw it yesterday and weren’t too disappointed by it. Maybe I will check it out somewhere this weekend. As always, nice review😊

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  2. kmSalvatore

    Thanks Jay, it’s on my list , must be my age:) I can still remember seeing B&C at the drive in with the family. , for me it’s like a sequel , and of course there’s the “actors”. Lol need I say more . Lol

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  3. selizabryangmailcom

    But I imagine Kevin and Woody’s performances almost make all the boring parts worth it? I was extremely impressed by Mr. Harrelson in True Detective. And Kevin Costner’s ripened well into acting with age, I think.

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  4. renxkyoko

    A dad movie ….. that’s true !! My dad loves it , and in fact watched it 2 x. As for me, it’s … well… let’s just say I’ve never been a fan of gangster movies. (Al Capone , Mafia, and the like )

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