The Highwaymen (2019)

R   |    |  Biography, Crime, Drama


The Highwaymen (2019) Poster

The untold true story of the legendary detectives who brought down Bonnie and Clyde.


6.9/10
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  • Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson in The Highwaymen (2019)
  • Kim Dickens at an event for The Highwaymen (2019)
  • Kim Dickens at an event for The Highwaymen (2019)
  • Michael Wozniak in The Highwaymen (2019)
  • Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson in The Highwaymen (2019)
  • Casey Silver at an event for The Highwaymen (2019)

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Director:

John Lee Hancock

Writer:

John Fusco

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29 March 2019 | random-70778
Entertaining and engaging, skipping the prior sympathetic bandit myth telling
This is an extremely well put together, engaging and entertaining telling of the pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde. Woody Harrelson is at the top of his form. He's played the part of the hardbitten lawman before, but it keeps getting better. And Costner does almost as well. The interplay is absorbing and extremely well written and acted.

In western culture we love our bandit myths and legends, which for some reasons celebrate some fairly nasty characters. Knowing the real story of Bonnie and Clyde, as opposed to the myth created by the contemporary news media and J. Edgar Hoover, always made Arthur Penns near worshipful portrayal of these two blood drenched spree murderers jarring. Bonnie and Clyde were bloodthirsty sociopaths, who in fact ambushed and murdered a fair number of people, including shooting unarmed store clerks in the back. Bonnie and Clyde were not "sticking it to the man" robbing big business like banks as much as they were in fact robbing and killing owners of small stores and then committing cold blooded murder of policemen trying to stop the mass murder spree.

The ultimate "ambush" of Bonnie and Clyde was not some planned execution, it was the result of the simple fact that those two had, withing seconds of being stopped, routinely murdered police who stopped them. They also did most of their murders with simple revolvers and sawed off shotguns, and almost none of the guns used were machine guns (a documented invention of Hoover's FBI; of the twenty or so people Bonnie and Clyde shot exactly one was shot with a machine gun). Hoover was fixated on above all else a) trying to prove that his agency's high tech of the time was the best avenue, despite all evidence to the contrary, b) distracting from, even to the point of denying the existence of, organized crime that Prohibition he supported had created. Hence his spinning of "celebrity" criminals like Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde, which also fit his narrative that we needed a national police force.

In fact FBI in fact made a mess out of their pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde, and it was old fashioned policing by two standard state lawmen that put an end to their violent spree.

So watch this film to see great buddy cop tension, and character interplay. Seriously as good as True Detective level. And a subtle subtext of well done but not over the top critique of Penn's worshipful portrayal of these two hyperviolent criminals in his 1967 film. The bumbling lawmen myth attached to to the 1967 film is also blown away. Bonnie and Clyde's murder and crime spree ranged over an area of 600,000 square miles, and it was old fashioned hard-bitten police work that got them.

Lastly the period work is another very well done element. Not just the visual elements, but the the dialogue. Instead of the fictitious Hepburn-Tracy like, now laughable, staccato dialogue of the 1967 film, we get a much more accurate laconic way of speaking at that time. More is said in fewer words between Harrelson and Costner.

Give it a watch, you will not be disappointed, although your prior positive views of the one-dimensional 67 film, may change.

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Biography | Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller

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