"Linklater has given us a gangster movie with no excitement at all"
'If you liked Bonnie and Clyde, then you'll LOVE The Newton Boys!!!' Now THAT'S a catchy slogan! It's also a complete lie.If you liked Bonnie and Clyde, go rent it again with the money you'll save by giving The Newton Boys a miss.
Linklater (director of the never released in Australia Slacker, Dazed and Confused and most recently subUrbia) has a wonderfully talented cast, which also included ER's Juliana Margulies. He uses them to tell the true story of four brothers who were the most successful bank robbers in the history of the United States. Shades of Bonnie and Clyde are everywhere, as Linklater attempts to walk that fine line between homage and rip-off, stumbling far too often into the latter. If only he could have stolen a bit of the original's energy because Linklater has given us a gangster movie with no excitement at all.
His film debut, Slacker, had a casual documentary feel, which worked perfectly to provide an unstructured view of youth in modern Texas. When this same style, or lack thereof, is applied to a period gangster piece, the result drags like an un-wormed puppy. Also in his earlier works, characters tended to indulge in dialogue, but it entertained because there was an energy which came from the young actors and the words they were given. You won't find that energy in this film.
Some of the blame rests with the choice of subject matter: a key difference between classic gangster films and this is that the Newtons didn't die in a hail of bullets, they just went on to live normal, respectable lives. They all grew old - which isn't really the stuff of gangster legend.The Newton Boys presents us with an all-star cast of beautiful young things as they kind of just... drift about - sort of a Gen-X Love Boat with running boards. And it's about as entertaining as that sounds.