The Newton Boys

1998

Action / Crime / Drama / History / Western

127
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 63%
IMDb Rating 6.1 10 10,218

Synopsis


Downloaded times
December 28, 2020

Cast

Dwight Yoakam as Brentwood Glasscock
Julianna Margulies as Jenifer's Psychiatrist
Skeet Ulrich as Joe Newton
Vincent D'Onofrio as Dock Newton
720p.BLU
1.1 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
PG-13
23.976 fps
122 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Chris Knipp 7 / 10 / 10

Linklater's surprising but not altogether successful step into genre

I watched this on DVD because it was recommended by Jonathan Rosenbaum on his ten-best list for the year, and the cast interested me, especially D'Onofrio and Skeet Ulrich. This confirms my admiration of the under-seen Ulrich, who's the doubting, conscience-stricken brother. His uneasiness stands out against the tedious good-old-boy jollity of the others. That shtick is a little too easy to do, and I don't think it gets the Twenties quite right, really. Rosenbaum is a great film critic but his end of the year recommendations are not always to be trusted, which makes you wonder about how written-in-stone his 1000 films list is. He also said that since the expansive images were a big part of the pleasure of the movie he didn't know how good it would be on DVD. Gosh, was it really so easy to rob a bank in those days? The way some of the robberies go makes it look like it was all a cinch, but surely they'd be scared sometimes because you still stood to go to jail for it, maybe for a good long time. Actually it was easy to robe banks with square-doored safes, and it isn't so hard to hold up a little bank today. This is surprising from Linklater not only because of the step into genre, but because of his willingness to glorify and simplify his good-boy/bad-boy crew. Where are the tormented and confused guys of his stoner movies? Matthew McConaughey certainly does rise to the challenge with a spirited and enthusiastic performance, but all his moments are still clich├ęs. Hawke similarly grins and giggles in a quite shallow way. His character is not well defined and D'Onofiro, arguably the best actor of the bunch, is wasted. Statistically the Newton bank robbers were remarkable, but Ebert may be right that they are less famous than Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde because they were too "respectable," i.e., dull. The screenplay lacks an angle, other than the glib one of boys on a lark, which fails to convince, and even when things go wrong, lacks a tragic dimension. The action is desultory, lacking a strong focus on character or action or any guiding principle. Hence comparison with 'Bonnie and Clyde,' or more dashing adventures in the same vein like 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' or 'The Sting,' simply isn't really possible. This isn't in the same league. It utterly pales in comparison to European robbery films like 'Rififi' or the recent 'Mesrine' gangster epic starring Vincent Cassel. Only the few moments with Dwight Yoakam as Brentwood Glasscock, the brothers' explosives expert, provide a welcome 'Rififi'-like hint of bank-robbing as a challenging activity requiring certain skills and techniques. This is not to say you can't have fun watching. These young actors are in their physical prime, and that includes the ladies, notably the handsome-looking Julianna Margulies as McConaughey's girlfriend. The period flavor is sometimes ripe and tasty. The production is very good-looking, and there is some nice cinematography: a silhouetted image of the mail train the Newton brothers are about to rob is particularly cool. The whole cadre things are set in, including the jaunty music, is conventional, but it's undeniably fun. The movie's a little long, but the climactic later scenes are involving. But still, this is very far from Linklater at his best, and Rosenbaum ought to admit he erred in ranking it so high.

Reviewed by elainew32 10 / 10 / 10

Tremendous cast, good, but not great, historical narrative

In a way, it seems like a waste to gather Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Skeet Ulrich, and Vincent D'Onofrio for this movie, because they should've been able to do something great, although, if it weren't for them, it would have been boring. It is a straightforward assembly of the facts of the incredible run of 80 bank robberies by the Newton brothers. Then they go for the big one, a train robbery of Federal Reserve funds. It is entertaining, but I was most entertained during the running of the credits. Over to the left, they show clips of Joe Newton at about age 79, on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, interspersed with film clips of an interview with Willis Newton in his 80's, both giving their views of what it was like and how they felt about what they had done. After seeing Hollywood's version of their lives, it was interesting to see what they were like in old age.

Reviewed by nickelreviews 10 / 10 / 10

A Guilty Pleasure...

This was loosely based on the "most successful bank robbers of all time". It was one of the many collaborations Matthew McConaughey did with director Richard Linklater. Much like all the film versions of Dillinger, The Newton Boys has car chases, bank robberies, explosions, partying, love triangles, etc. All the elements that add drama and excitement to a film that I enjoy. Again, this film was panned critically and commercially, but again I don't care. Everyone I've introduced to the movie too, has enjoyed it. There is a cool scene during the closing credits too which shows miscellaneous interviews with all the Newton Brothers featuring one with Johnny Carson and the youngest Newton Boy and the last living at the time of the interview in the early 80's. Reviewed by AN/NR 11-14-11

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