Presents a day in the life in Austin, Texas among its social outcasts and misfits, predominantly the twenty-something set, using a series of linear vignettes. These characters, who in some ... See full summary »
Four Newton brothers are a poor farmer family in the 1920s. The oldest of them, Willis, one day realizes that there's no future in the fields and offers his brothers to become a bank robbers. Soon the family agrees. They become very famous robbers, and five years later execute the greatest train robbery in American history. Written by
In the movie, the Texas Ranger who arrests Jess Newton is Frank Hamer. The real Frank Hamer planned and participated in the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde. See more »
After the armoured car robbery, when the boys stop the car and fight about why it had gone so badly, a modern day wheelchair-access drop-down curb is seen. During the 20s, no such curb would have existed. They would have been straight across. See more »
Though not on par with some of his more noted works such as Dazed and Confused or Before Sunrise, The Newton Boys is still a noteworthy film by Richard Linklater, focusing on the all-to-real story of the four Newton brothers from Ulvade, Texas who ended up robbing over eighty banks and a train in just four years before finally being arrested and imprisoned in 1924.
What Linklater does here that is most interesting is his use of music and detached style of shooting. Nearly all of the music on the soundtrack consists of blues-infused, upbeat country style which is consistent with the setting of this movie but not necessarily the tone. There is a dark underlying element to this story, most notably in the evolution of the main character Willis, played so wonderfully and engagingly by Matthew McConaughey it makes one shake their head as to why he would continue to make useless romantic comedies these days. Willis begins the film as bright, optimistic, a loyal son and brother but upset about the way justice is mistreated in south Texas. Determined to right this wrong, he becomes enamored with the idea of robbing banks, justifying it by claiming that the banks are the real thieves and his form of stealing would simply be a little thief taking from a big one.
Though many of the subsequent scenes are nothing original in this genre, simply derivative of Bonnie and Clyde or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the four leads are all very engaging and likable, especially McConaughey and Ethan Hawke. Linklater keeps the audience at a distance with the use of the awkward music and the lack of character depth. In many cases, the supporting cast is simply that rather than an opportunity to reflect the brothers' view of their lives and worldview. Nevertheless, the film is as a whole better than the most recent of its kind. It has an innocent-like quality to it thanks to the fervent belief of Willis Newtown: doing this was simply a way to make money and for that reason there was no reason for them to stop.
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