Highwaymen tells Rangers’ side of Bonnie and Clyde

Courtesy of Netflix
Woody Harrelson (left) and Kevin Costner (right) star as Gault and Hamer.

Neil Runge | Staff Writer

04/04/19

The often-mythicized tale of the young duo of criminals Bonnie and Clyde is now being told from a new point of view. This time around, the story of fugitives is being told from the side of the men who caught the famous pair of robbers.

The Highwaymen, released to Netflix this past Friday, is based on the true story about how two former Texas Rangers, Frank Hamer and Maney Gault,  managed to track down and kill infamous robbers and murderers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Directed by John Lee Hancock, this movie is filled to the brim with well-known actors. Hamer and Gault are played by Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, respectively. The governor of Texas is played by the amazing Kathy Bates.

It’s clear that the story isn’t focused on Bonnie and Clyde themselves because the most screen time they receive is after they have gone out in a shower of bullets. The audience doesn’t even see their faces in full view until about halfway through the movie.

Hamer and Gault are estranged friends, distanced from each other after the Texas Rangers were retired by the governor. They’ve seen and committed murder together on the orders of the previous governor. After retiring, the two parted ways, and now that they’re back together for one more job, their relationship has a buddy-cop feel. It’s light-hearted at times and gives a welcome liveliness to the dark story at hand.

The buddy-cop relationship doesn’t take away from the seriousness, though. These two men know what they’ve done in the past and what needs to be done now that they’re back together.

While the acting is great, the story is lacking. It isn’t bad and it doesn’t ruin the movie, but from the summary Netflix gives, what was expected and what was given weren’t exactly the same thing. The summary told of non-stop action while the actual film was more like two hours of watching two old friends take an odd road trip through the South and Midwest.

This doesn’t mean the movie was bad though. It’s a good movie to have on in the background while getting other things done.

The Highwaymen doesn’t require a ton of a attention to understand. Even though the story is being told from a new perspective, it’s still a story that has been around in pop culture for a very long time.

The costumes helped build that story. Hamer and Gault were from two different social classes and it shows, not only in how they acted, but in their time-accurate clothes. It was the 1930s, so both men were dressed in suits, but Hamer was more refined and had higher quality clothes. The costume department did their research and it showed wonderfully.

It is the perfect film for any true crime fan to put on after a long day of living life. There are jokes, tender moments and tense scenes that leave you on the edge of your seat.

Hancock’s film may not win best picture, but it won a spot in my heart as an enjoyable and fresh take on a story that has been told hundreds of times.

 

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