The Bonnie and Clyde story is infamous in both history and Hollywood. The true story about a pair of lover-outlaws who took the world by storm as they robbed and murdered their way across the United States in the ’30s has almost become a pop-culture mainstay. Hollywood has often depicted the true story in various movies, most famously in the 1967 feature film Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The outlaw couple has become so ingrained in pop culture that there have been many other representations of them in various media, most recently appearing in an episode of the now-canceled TV series Timeless.
The story of Bonnie and Clyde will be retold once more, but from a totally different perspective in the Netflix original movie The Highwaymen, directed by John Lee Hancock. Netflix recently released the trailer of the movie on their official YouTube channel. Starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, the film focuses on the old-school Texas Rangers who were tasked with hunting down the young criminals. It’s interesting to note that the main leads of The Highwaymen have dabbled in similar subject matter earlier in their careers. Costner played Elliot Ness, another famous lawman in yet another true story adaptation in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables. Harrelson, on the other hand, portrayed the half of another murderous couple in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers.
The Highwaymen is a completely different treatment of the historic events involving Bonnie and Clyde. While most depictions romanticize the couple, always providing sympathetic backstory to the criminals in order to show them as anti-heroes, this movie seems to treat them as the murderous villains that history claims them to be. On the other hand, the lead pair of Costner and Harrelson are shown as the weathered lawmen who have to track down the pair using outdated methods in a world that’s passing them by. The trailer seems to rely heavily on the chemistry between the two, showing many sequences similar to that of a buddy-cop comedy. Despite its lighthearted moments, The Highwaymen trailer established the movie as an all-out action drama.
The movie also stars Kathy Bates, Kim Dickens, and John Carroll Lynch in supporting roles. Given that writer-director John Lee Hancock is no stranger to adapting true stories into film, in movies such as The Founder and Saving Mr. Banks, audiences can expect The Highwaymen to stay true to its historical source material, while also creating an engaging drama.
The Highwaymen releases theatrically on March 15, and then on Netflix on March 29.