Between new theatrical releases, TV, and classics I haven’t seen, there’s a ton of content out there I try to keep up with and it always seems like a losing battle. Because of that, I sometimes fall behind on things like new Netflix originals. One of the movies I was able to catch up with this week is biographical drama The Highwaymen.
The Highwaymen is yet another telling of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde story. This one, however, tells it from the point of view from the two Texas Rangers who tracked them down, Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson). That is by far the most interesting aspect of the movie. With most media coverage about Bonnie and Clyde being from their perspective, it was interesting to learn about what happened on the other side. And based on the little research I did outside of watching the movie, a lot of it appears to be mostly accurate.
Because of the focus on the lawmen, The Highwaymen doesn’t glorify Bonnie and Clyde like a lot of coverage around their acts has. Despite the fact they committed countless robberies and over a dozen murders, nine of which were of law enforcement officers, they have often been portrayed with admiration ever since the news coverage surrounding that at the time. This does a good job of showing how truly evil their acts of violence were.
I also really liked the production design of this movie. It does a good job of seemingly putting you right into Texas in the 1930s. Everything from the sets, to the vehicles, the clothing, and the weapons feel very much of that time. It seems like a lot of thought and care went into it, and I didn’t notice anything that felt out of place.
Costner and Harrelson aren’t asked to do much here, but they still both do a good job. Costner channels his past performances in movies like Open Range, while Harrelson is mostly playing a toned-down version of the Woody Harrelson you know. They have good chemistry together as well.
If you are looking for an in-depth analysis of the Bonnie and Clyde case and the morality issues surrounding it, keep looking. While The Highwaymen touches on those things, it is mostly a paint by numbers, check the boxes biopic. It is definitely reminiscent of some of director John Lee Hancock’s previous movies, like The Rookie, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Founder. You’re just getting the basics here. The movie is also a bit too long and suffers from some pacing issues, spending way too much time on certain things unnecessarily.
With that said, The Highwaymen is a perfect Netflix movie. You don’t have to go out of your way to watch it and it is definitely entertaining enough on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a strong recommend if you are interested in the other side of the Bonnie and Clyde story.
The Highwaymen gets a Positive ROP.
Ratings from low to high: Felony, Misdemeanor, 10-4, Positive ROP, Golden Donut