By Matt Pascarella
Runtime: 132 minutes
The year is 1934. Bonnie and Clyde are infamous and beloved by many in the country for their rebellion against the government and the banks. They are not loved by law enforcement who are seriously trying to catch and stop these unruly criminals before they cause more bloodshed.
Netflix’s ‘The Highwaymen’ tells the story of the most famous Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and his partner, Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson) as they come out of retirement to catch these dangerous lovers.
The movie opens at Eastham Prison Farm in Texas where we see several prisoners working in the fields. At another location, a car pulls up and a woman with a tommy gun gets out and stands waiting. Back at the prison farm, a prisoner pulls a gun on a guard and shoots him. Gunshots are heard in the distance, the woman with the tommy gun is firing rapidly. Prisoners scatter everywhere. Several prisoners make it to the location where the woman, later learned to be Bonnie Parker, is waiting and a few prisoners jump in her car as it speeds away.
The governor, Ma Ferguson (Katy Bates) is questioned by the media regarding the prison break. She vows to capture the Barrows Gang, along with Clyde Barrows and Bonnie Parker. The warden, Lee Simmons (John Carroll Lynch) recommends Frank Hamer (Costner) be put on the case. Simmons visits Hamer, who is unofficially retired, and asks for his help; Hamer agrees.
Gault (Harrelson) is unemployed and living on his daughter’s couch. When he gets wind of Hamer’s mission, he confronts him and asks to join; Hamer begrudgingly agrees. Although there is a lot of action and shootouts in this movie, there is a bit of humor, too. Hamer and Gault chase a boy who could lead to Bonnie and Clyde. When they fail to catch him, Hamer says, “I thought you had my back, I could have died!” Gault replies, “If he’d run one more block, we’d both be dead.”
Intermittently, you see Bonnie and Clyde travelling around, causing destruction.
Hamer and Gault get a tip at a gas station that Bonnie and Clyde came through there recently, driving a blue sedan with black tires. The Texas Rangers catch a glimpse of Bonnie and Clyde in the next town, when their car is swarmed by adoring fans. Hamer and Gault manage to follow Bonnie and Clyde and tail them out into the desert where, after a hot pursuit, the dangerous duo escape.
Frustrated, Gault wonders if maybe he and Hamer don’t have it in them anymore to catch the crime couple. Do they? Spoiler alert: The answer is in the tagline.
Although the story of Bonnie and Clyde is very well known, it was interesting to see it from the point of view of these crotchety Texas Rangers, who Costner and Harrelson portrayed very well. The two make a good team. ‘The Highwaymen’ has plenty of action, some comedy and is a little bloody in parts. While the film is over two hours long, it kept me interested. Although you probably know the ending, ‘The Highwaymen’ is worth the time.