Among Steve McQueen's filmography, The Reivers probably isn't the first film people recall - maybe not even the tenth or fifteenth - but this coming-of-age tale certainly contains enough to make a worthwhile viewing. Set in the early 1900's, The Reivers centers on an eleven-year-old boy named Lucius and the wild journey he undergoes. His grandfather, simply known as The Boss, buys the first automobile the town has ever seen, which becomes the catalyst for mischief when Boon (McQueen) decides he and Lucius should "borrow" the car for a little trip. Along for the ride is Ned, a cousin of Lucius', as they head to Memphis.
It's a good-natured film, although nothing remarkable. As a road movie the story becomes somewhat episodic at times as the trio travel along. They run into some trouble of course, although you never really believe they won't make their way out of it. A few of the plot devices seemed contrived and left me wondering why they were included. Ultimately, I could overlook those issues, but they did bring the film down a bit for me. As far as the acting, McQueen does his usual thing as the cool troublemaker and the supporting cast holds up just fine. I was impressed with Mitch Vogel as Lucius. Many child actors from this era simply don't compare to the talent of their adult co-stars, but this kid performed admirably. The whole film essentially hinges on his character as he begins the transition into manhood. By the end of the film, I felt that he had changed. The score, an early one from John Williams, sets an energetic tone to the proceedings and represents one of the film's strengths. After watching the film I discovered Williams even received one of his first Oscar nominations for his efforts.
That's essentially all I have to say about the film. It's a decent ride, but I doubt that I'll feel the need/want to revisit it.