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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Newton Boys (1998)



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The Newton Boys were said to be the most successful bank robbers of all time. They knocked over scores of banks in the 1920s, then turned to trains, and while they got caught and spent time in prison, they all lived to ripe old ages. The real life story is fascinating. Exactly how, then, it made such a dull movie, I cannot say. The stars turn in functional performances, but the script never takes the time to delve into their characters. Instead, it takes time on all the wrong things -- the common elements of plot we've seen so many times before that they are unaffecting without a firmer underlying foundation.

The best part of the movie is at the very end. During the credits, we are treated to clips of interviews with two of the real life Newton brothers (one is a clip from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson). It took only the first few seconds of these clips to have me riveted to my seat -- something the movie itself hadn't done at all.