The Highwaymen

The Highwaymen

In Theatres: 
Mar 29, 2019
Running Time: 
132 minutes

Everybody knows who Bonnie and Clyde are and their vicious string of robberies and murder that occurred during the 1930s, but do people know the Texas Rangers responsible for putting an end to Bonnie and Clyde’s rampage? Probably not. Netflix’s The Highwaymen is an attempt at exploring the Texas Rangers who took down two of the most infamous criminals in the country. Unfortunately, they’re nowhere near as interesting as Bonnie and Clyde, and the film struggles to find what kind of story it wants to tell.


Former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and ex-partner Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson) have been out of the game for a long time now, but when the FBI is struggling to capture criminals Bonnie and Clyde and the bodycount continues to grow, Texas Governor Miriam Ferguson (Kathy Bates) rolls the dice and decides that they’re the two for the job. But Frank and Maney haven’t exactly been keeping in the best shape these past years and their age has clearly caught up with them. They’re going to have to rely on all their collective knowledge if they’re going to find these two young and brutal criminals.


The Highwaymen suffers mostly from the very subject it’s trying to shine a light on. Both Costner and Harrelson are wonderful actors and while their onscreen chemistry works for the most part, their characters just aren’t all that interesting, especially when the people their chasing are far more intriguing. Everything they do seems dull when compared to the brutality of Bonnie and Clyde. It’s two old men trying to capture not only the criminals but all the glory days of their youth.


There are some particular scenes that do stand out. As short a scene as it was, I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Frank and his wife Gladys (Kim Dickens). Naturally she’s frustrated that he’s getting pulled back into this dangerous business, but she still supports him. There’s also a wonderful scene where Maney tells a story from their past over a poker game that provides some much needed depth to their characters. Unfortunately, it comes a little bit too far into the film to really elevate it in any meaningful way.


At just over two hours long, The Highwaymen is a long and winding film that feels like it’s almost three. The performances are good enough but not great, resulting in a story that is just going through the motions rather than saying anything interesting. For a history and crime lover, The Highwaymen might provide a little insight into this other side of the Bonnie and Clyde era, but for general audiences it doesn’t have quite enough gas in its tank to get over that hill.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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