‘Stand and deliver’
The Highwayman is a 2022 British historical comedic crime film loosely based on the exploits of the infamous 18th-century robber Dick Turpin.
Written, produced and directed by Steve Lawson (The Fourth Musketeer; Jekyll and Hyde; Ripper Untold; Bram Stoker’s Van Helsing; Saltwater: The Battle for Ramree Island; The Haunting of Alcatraz; Pentagram; The Exorcism of Karen Walker; Hellriser; KillerSaurus; Nocturnal Activity)
Infamous highway robber Dick Turpin (Morgan Rees-Davies) finds himself on the run in the English countryside having accidentally kidnapped the Earl of Pembroke’s feisty daughter, Elizabeth (Mollie Hindle).
As her fiance Winthroppe (Tom Hendryk) attempts to track them down, Elizabeth begins to fall for the dashing highwayman, leaving Turpin with no choice but to face off against Winthroppe in a fight for Elizabeth’s heart – and her fortune.
Anyone expecting action and adventure will be disappointed to discover that The Highwayman is a comedic romp with hardly any bandit activity. Dick Turpin is portrayed as a sympathetic figure and, as in the many fictitious Robin Hood adaptations, the real villain is someone far more devious.
Whereas the lack of swashbuckling action in writer-director Steve Lawson’s previous film, The Fourth Musketeer, was genuinely an issue, here it’s acceptable given the amusing banter, some enjoyable onscreen chemistry and the fact that in real-life Dick Turpin didn’t actually rob hardly anyone (despite the myth that has built up around him – in fact, he was initially a home invasion burglar which is a far more insidious crime than being a highwayman). There’s even a welcome reference to Month Python and the Holy Grail!
A couple of locations used in The Highwayman are tighter than tight (and there’s one brief gaffe where a modern house can be seen behind a church – although such things can be glimpsed in exalted Witchfinder General) but this is how Lawson makes movies for a pittance and with the combined scenario and talent here we can at least relish what he’s up to compared to the likes of some fellow low budget UK filmmakers. Meanwhile, the running time is wisely kept short resulting in Lawson’s best production yet.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
” …this film feels very much akin to Lawson’s take on the Musketeers – a disappointingly talky version of a familiar story. This small-scale formula worked well for Lawson’s horror stories, however the fact he chose two “legendary” tales that demand action and adventure and provided very little in his iterations will only dishearten audiences.” 2/5 Nerdly
In the UK, High Fliers Films will release The Highwayman on DVD on May 9, 2022.
Cast and characters:
Morgan Rees-Davies … Turpin
Mollie Hindle … Elizabeth
Tom Hendryk … Henry Winthroppe
Steven Dolton … The Earl of Pembroke
Melvyn Rawlinson … Arkwright
Ciaron Davies … O’Reilly
Francesca Louise White … Turpin’s Gang Member
Ben Manning … Turpin’s Gang Member
Stacey Gough … Gaoler
1 hour 25 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1