NFLX2019 March 29th: The Highwaymen

The Highwaymen. John Lee Hancock. 2019. ☆★★★★★

Does it say anything about our times that Netflix found it attractive to make a movie about Bonnie & Clyde where the heroes are the men who hunt them down? Or is it just the result of a random walk performed by the Netflix movie generator script?

I’m thinking it’s the latter, because this movie is nothing but clichés strung together, from the hire-the-retired-cop-for-a-final-job to… well, every cinematographical choice made.

Oh, right, it’s yet another project that Netflix picked up after all the other movies passed on it for more than a decade:

The film had been in development for many years, with producer Casey Silver looking into the project as early as 2005. Originally pitched by Fusco as a possible Paul Newman and Robert Redford project, the film began development at Universal Pictures but never came to fruition.


The production reportedly had a budget of $49 million.

It doesn’t look like it, so I’m guessing 90% of that budget went to the Waterworld guy and the Cheers guy.

I can see why the Netflix ML chose to pick up this movie: There’s a sizeable audience that wants to see the Waterworld and the Cheers guy talk half an octave below their natural ranges about manly, manly stuff. The level of gruff cannot be overstated. The movie is one “cool” scene after another. I mean, you can’t beat the Waterworld guy going into a gun shop and buying half their stock to the bewilderment of the sissy-men gun sellers. Whooo-heee! *punches air*

It’s a risibly heavy-handed movie. If you can’t switch off your eye-rolling instinct you’ll miss two thirds of the movie.

I like slow movies, but this doesn’t really have anything more to fill the ponderousness with than TV cop show clichés.

It’s a pretty loathsome movie: it’s a paean to police brutality and murder, but it’s also whiffy in other ways, like the lingering shots of stunningly fake 30s destitution which looks like they’ve rolled in a bunch of extras and painted them up with Dirt, The Make-Up For Hobo Parties.


Heh heh::

An insolent gas station attendant claims not to have any intel on the culprits’ whereabouts, and that he wouldn’t share it even if he did, so Hamer assaults him. He then gives a stirring speech about responsibility and justice to take the edge off of the casual police brutality, and the man nursing a mouthful of broken teeth undergoes a change of heart.


In conclusion: This movie is insanely boring, and for that I deduct one ☆ it perhaps deserved otherwise.

This post is part of the NFLX2019 blog series.

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