The newest addition to the onslaught of Netflix original movies, The Highwaymen follows the story of the two men who took down the infamous crime duo Bonnie and Clyde. The film takes a fresh aspect on the story by basing it on the lawmen instead of the lawbreakers, and provides a fairly significant perspective to the well known story. However, the film itself is quite dull, lacking moments of suspense and excitement necessary to tell this type of story. In reality, this isn’t the type of movie most people would go on Netflix to watch.
The main appeal of the film are the two leads, Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson. Seeing their chemistry on screen is enjoyable for the most part. They both fit their roles exceptionally well, but their characters eventually fall into tired buddy-cop cliches. What makes matter worse, they both are basically the same character, grouchy old veterans brought back into the action for one last job. Though Harrelson’s character does have some charm, it’s not enough to spark much interest in the audience.
The movie somewhat counteracts the original Bonnie and Clyde by taking complete focus off the duo, only featuring them in brief wide shots. This perspective was actually quite creative as it gives the feeling of Bonnie and Clyde being unreachable by the law because they mostly only appear far away and we never see their faces until the very end when they finally get gunned down. This directing choice pairs excellently with the actual plot in which Bonnie and Clyde are always one step ahead of the law, and does a great job of putting the viewer in the perspective of the police, and creates a more satisfying resolution when the duo meet their end.
Ultimately, The Highwaymen is a decent reciprocal piece to Bonnie and Clyde giving moviegoers the other side of the story and for the most part deglamorizing the narrative. However, this proves to be a double edged sword as the story becomes incredibly tiresome, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone wanting to sit through the movie till the end.