A nameless young character goes into travels to the country, meeting some acquaintances and strangers as well, having banal conversations, dedicating his existence into daily mundane ... See full summary »
Follows tour guide, historian and flâneur Timothy 'Speed' Levitch as he visits the monumentally ignored monuments of America's cities, from the shoe gardens of San Francisco to the luckiest subway grate in New York City.
Timothy 'Speed' Levitch,
John C. McDonnell,
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
"The Newton Boys," an obvious "Bonnie & Clyde"-wannabe, ignores the most fundamental reason for the latter film's resonance and success--*it did not glorify the heroes.* We can't even call Bonnie and Clyde "heroes," really, protagonists would be a better word.
"Bonnie & Clyde" makes it perfectly clear that its two lead characters are overgrown children, getting in further and further over their heads. We feel sorry for them when they die, but we also acknowledge, with a sad sigh, that this was the only possible end for them.
Director Richard Linklater of "The Newton Boys," however, was clearly enamored of his subject and approaches these criminals as personifications of the misunderstood man and carefree American spirit. The period details are well-done and all the actors have charm to spare, but the fact remains--*these are criminals and they are stealing other people's money.*
This deals a fatal blow to our identification with the so-called heroes and our enjoyment of the film. Am I really supposed to sympathize with Dwight Yoakam's character as he throws a temper tantrum over a round safe (apparently harder to detonate than square)? Oh, the poor little bank robber's having a hard day at the office.
The film also has problems in terms of writing and performance. It's hard to believe that Julianna Margulies's character would be head over heels for the top Newton bro; someone that stunning would surely be able to find numerous, law-abiding boyfriends. The film needed less bank robbing scenes and maybe a few showing how she was ostracized by society and/or poor and Mr. Newton gave her a new lease on life...something like that. Perhaps Julianna was bored with this thin role, for there is little life in her performance.
Only one or two of the brothers, especially Skeet Ulrich as the youngest, stand out in any particular way. The music is hokey and the whole thing goes on far too long. If you see it, though, do stay till the very end to catch interviews with the real Newton brothers toward the end of their lives.
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