- BOTTOM LINE
- Requires Patience In Tonnes
What is the Story about?
The Highwaymen is the other side of the famous story of Bonnie and Clyde. It shows how the retired Texas Rangers trapped the notorious criminal pair and put them to rest.
The Highwaymen is all about the two old characters primarily played by Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson. Among the two, Kevin Costner comes across as the lead playing the role of legendary ranger Frank Hammer. That is how his part is build up, and the veteran lives up to the billing.
Kevin Costner displays the old age factor and the various gravitas associated with it well. The frustration and anguish at the idolising of criminals and how people look up to them are well conveyed. The scene with the father of one of the criminals, in particular, stands out as does some with his partner.
Direction By John Lee Hancock?
The Highwaymen comes with an exciting premise no doubt. The characters of Bonnie and Clyde have gained a whole lot of coverage, and not much is known about the way they were killed, and who killed them except the names. John Lee Hancock takes a classical approach in narrating the crime drama from the perspective of the law.
The whole setup is neatly and firmly established but on a slower side. The same continues on the entire duration though, which makes one gets used to it. The story progresses mostly on the roads. If you were wondering why the title, then, this is the reason. The opening, especially, is too slow making it a very tiresome watch. It is only when the two senior retired rangers come together that some interest is generated.
The makers assume that we know about the notoriety of Bonnie and Clyde. Even if that is not the case, it is neatly established through well-placed bits that serve as information for both the characters as well as the audience. Not much of the criminal activity is shown barring glimpses here and there.
The sequences involving the deduction of the whereabouts of Bonnie and Clyde, the first chase and climax are well executed. However, the in-between drama where the Rangers have a conflict with the modern policeman etc. is a drag. They offer nothing new and only come across as fillers. They do take the narrative forward but lack the engaging factor. The climax is neatly wrapped up with a meticulous recreation of the iconic killing moment. The ambush takes time to arrive but is done well.
On the whole, The Highwaymen is too old-school for its own good. The thrills are soft, and the narrative is snail-paced. There are no flash or big bang moments keeping in with the current trends. If all those aren’t an issue, then watching The Highwaymen would be fun. Au contraire! You will be bored to death for the most part.
Woody Harrelson is the parallel lead to Kevin Costner. He plays the funny guy that we usually see in the buddy cop flicks. Only, it is more age appropriate here. The actor breezes through his role with ease. Apart from the two senior pro’s, the film has minimal characters. Among the few who impress are Kathy Bates and Thomas Mann. The former as a steely politician is right for the part. The latter plays a role that is critical to the narrative even though appearing briefly. The rest have small parts, and they are okay.
Music and other departments?
Thomas Newman provides an old world sounding epic, sweeping score without overburdening the narrative. It flows smoothly and never interrupts the proceedings. The cinematography by John Schwartzman is excellent. It takes us back to an old era. The editing is smooth. There is an unhurried quality that is mostly absent in many flicks today which can be seen in The Highwaymen by Robert Frazen. The writing is good. It goes with the mood and time the movie is set.
Very Slow Paces
Not Enough Thrills
Did I enjoy it?
Yes for the most part
Will you recommend it?
Yes but with reservations
The Highwaymen Review by Siddartha Toleti