They were a handful of leftover student radicals from the turbulent 60's - brilliant renegade children of affluence, financing their reign of urban terror through a series of daring armored car robberies. For nearly a decade they avoided capture, until justice finally triumphed in the wake of a brutal mass murder in downtown Boston. But for the killers' families, the police, the obsessed young Assistant D.A., and the city itself, the nightmare was far from over.... It had only just begun.
George Higgins channels Akira Kurosowa. Each of them understand that no-one understands anything that any other person understands. Got that? We all conclude an event through personal goggles and earbuds. "Conclude" an event? Why not write "see" or "hear" or "witness" an event? Because Kurosawa and Higgins argue that the act of concluding isn't just ongoing but it is inextricable from observation. They are parallel actions which in turn trigger our unique responses. Higgins and Kurosawa are about the dark dynamics of human nature that shape and change life.
Okay... heavy stuff. But on its surface "Outlaws" is an adventure that's shown to us from the viewpoints of different observers. But are they telling us the truth? Absolutely, as they "concluded" it. Which propels each twist and turn and eventually a discomforting explanation from those same people. And explanation is the best ending you can expect from Higgins. Do you accept it? I'll WONDER about that for some time.
Yep, Higgins is a craftsman. But art without wonder is merely craft.
I'm off to buy the "Kennedy for the Defense" which I hope will be read as masterfully as Joe Barrett performed "Outlaws".
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