2 1/2 Stars
The Newton Boys represents a cinematic stretch of director Richard Linklater’s considerable talent. The Helmer known for his independent films and low-budget dramas has made a full-fledged studio picture with some success. This is a beautiful looking picture with a few appealing performances, but the movie never comes alive in an interesting manner. A shorter running time and a more in-depth approach to the material would have benefited the characters and emotional impact of their story. Still, this is a relatively pleasing film with modest pleasures in store.
Dirt poor, the Newton brothers set out to become the most successful bank robbers in American History. After knocking off over 80 banks from Texas to Canada, the boys have set their sights on multi-million dollar heist, robbing a Federal Reserve train. This draws the attention of the Federal agents in the Bureau, with the heat turned up and desperation setting in the brother’s vast quantity of luck is about to run out.
The cast and picturesque visuals of a by-gone era are commendable, but the ho-hum sluggish pace and tone of the storytelling negate any excitement or interest in the true-life tale. So, in essence, we have a good-looking slightly boring film that could benefit from a less superficial account of the title characters. At 122 minutes The Newton Boys takes its time going through the motions, but never delivers the goods in an audience-pleasing manner.
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Skeet Ulrich