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The Highwaymen: SXSW Movie Review

We have seen Bonnie & Clyde’s story told before and quite frankly, doesn’t need to be retold.  However, the former Texas Rangers that tracked down and put an end to the notorious killer couple have never been properly portrayed on screen.  Director John Lee Hancock does treat these real-life cowboys with respect but the journey we are sent on is an ultimate bore.

The film begins with Bonnie (Emily Brobst), breaking Clyde (Edward Bossert) out of a prison work camp, along with a few inmates. From there, they go on a crime and killing spree, while building a fan base, much like rock stars.  Because the criminals have been evading capture, Governor Ferguson (Kathy Bates) reluctantly reinstates former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) to find and put an end to Bonnie and Clyde. Along for the job is Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson), a former Ranger as well who has gone on to develop a drinking problem.  Both men have slowed down quite a bit in their old age, but that doesn’t stop them.

The problem with “The Highwaymen” is that even though the story of Hamer and Gault is an interesting one, the film itself rarely is.  Even though we know how things are going to end, the journey to get there, which lasts 132 minutes feels like a journey to nowhere for the most part. Costner and Harrelson are both quite good in their respective roles and do the best with the material they are given, but screenplay by John Fusco (who wrote one of my 80’s favorites, “Young Guns”) just feels flat.  Regardless of how I felt about the film, if you are a fan of the leads and have interest in watching a different point of view of the “Bonnie & Clyde” story then you can check out “The Highwaymen” on Netflix, starting March 29th.

By: Marc Ferman