Newton Boys

THE NEWTON BOYS. 1998

Director: Richard Linklater

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



An impressive cast plays the Texas Newton Boys, Roaring Twenties outlaws who in history robbed 200 banks & only got caught when they tried train robbery. Anyone enamored of Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, or Skeet Ulrich should love the film. But for me, they failed ever to stop being merely actors, never convincingly filling the shoes of their characters.

We glimpse behind the end-credits bits of old interviews with two of the actual Newton brothers in their old age. These bits make it instantly clear that a documentary featuring the brothers themselves would be about individuals vastly more interesting than the script poorly captures & the actors imitate in all mediocrity.

The fourth brother played by Vincent D'Onofrio was the most convincing inside his character, though it's not a role that gives him enough to do, & he has the least screentime of the group. The film rides mostly on McConaughey's shoulders, the other brothers being kept too much as support roles. McConaughey tries hard, but he fails to convey more than an annoyingly shortsighted & stupid fellow without charisma or appeal.

It might've all worked a lot better if all four brothers had had equally important stories rather than three being the support cast for McConaughey, who is frankly not one of the most appealing hillbillies in movieland.

The Newton Boys has its moments & the staging frequently captures a real sense an age of Wild West outlaws on horseback with six-gun s, shifting into the era of gangsters in black cars with tommy-guns. But in total its bland performances made for a boring film.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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