Bonnie and Clyde Reviews
"They're young. They're in love. They rob banks."
Bonnie and Clyde is a loosely made, American classic that tells the story of the two bank robbers from their first meeting to their ultimate peril. Sure there are some easy to spot errors and omissions, but this is a brilliantly made, fun, crime film. There's not much to complain about with this one. The movie is quick moving and never leaves Bonnie and Clyde. A lot of movies like this like to show a subplot where detectives, FbI, or whatever else scheme to find the bad guys. In Bonnie and Clyde, we don't see that; and I love it for that reason and many others.
Plot is kind of secondary here as the story is known. Meet Bonnie and Clyde, they rob banks. We watch as they tour the country, picking up C.W., Clyde's brother, Buck and his wife Blanche. Along the way, they rob and occasionally kill when they have to. The film makes us sympathize with Bonnie and Clyde. We see them with each other and how they act to each other. It makes us see their nice side, and that pretty much forces us to sympathize with their ultimate demise at the hands of some one they trusted.
This movie works as well as it does for more than one reason, but the biggest is the chemistry between Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The two are as perfect a bank robbing duo as you could hope for. Beatty is... well Beatty. So you know you're going to get a phenomenal performance from him. And Dunaway is the sexy, blonde that can win our hearts and she does it with amazing grace, turning in one of her most memorable roles as Bonnie. There's a good supporting cast as well with Gene Hackman, Michael J. Pollard, and Estelle Parsons rounding up the Barrow Gang.
The movie may be most notable for its depiction of violence. At the time, it was more than just groundbreaking; it was shocking. Now, we're used to being shown violence in over the top kind of ways and that makes watching this even more believable. The violence is depicted in a realistic way, making the movie more authentic because of it.
Needless to say, this is an absolute much watch. Watching Dunaway and Beatty as Bonnie and Clyde is fun, emotional, and a cinematic pleasure. I don't know how many movies there are out there that are about Bonnie and Clyde, but I haven't seen or heard about any, and there's a good reason for that. We don't need any.
The movie did not disappoint--I was bowled over by Beatty and Dunaway's charisma and glistening sex appeal, and their chemistry was playful, almost stupidly childlike and surprisingly touching till the end. I'm glad it didn't glamorize the life of an outlaw, and captured the elements of weariness, anxiety and the longing for stability that ground away at the Barrow Gang (mostly in the look on Bonnie's face) after months upon months of living in a getaway car together. Little details of their personalities and "peculiarities" were much appreciated. Overall, an honest movie in good, naughty fun but also with a lot of heart.
This is not to say that it's a perfect or even truly great film. It is not. But it has an immense amount of value, and I understand now why it is thought of as a watershed event, turning American film away from the conventions of the 1950s and 60s and ushering in a new golden age in American film. Without "Bonnie and Clyde," I don't think there would have been a "Midnight Cowboy," a "Five Easy Pieces," a "Godfather," or a "Chinatown," to name just a few.
"Bonnie and Clyde" brought the European-style auteur film to America, films made by directors who were first and foremost artists, not businessmen or craftsmen churning out product according to the master's instructions. "Bonnie and Clyde" reeks of artistry and poetry in every shot in an uncompromising way.
The brutality of the film is also revelatory. It represents a refusal to turn a blind eye to the brutality of life. Real life is not always gentle and pretty, and "Bonnie and Clyde" looks this reality squarely in the eye. It doesn't just point to death, it shows you death. We've gotten used to this now, but in 1967 it must have been terrifying.
It is especially poignant to re-experience this pioneering film now, given that its director, Arthur Penn, just died three months ago. Mr. Penn: Thank you for pioneering the auteurist American film. Thank you for not compromising and putting art first. You enriched American life immeasurably.
NOTE: If you want to learn more about the movement "Bonnie and Clyde" started, see Mark Harris's fantastic 2008 book, "Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood."
Well, what an entertaining ride this was! This semi-true look at the notorious activities of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow started well and never slowed down or dipped in quality for a second. It was funny, action-packed, and has an euphoric sense of excitement that many older movies don't aim for.
The story started with Bonnie & Clyde's first meeting, and continued on during the many Depression-era robberies they became famous for, to their deaths. It's pretty well-known that the duo died young, but by the finale of the movie you'll have become so attached to these characters that their end will still feel like a blow. Dunaway and Beatty are excellent as the two main characters, and the supporting cast also doesn't disappoint.
From the dialogue to the camera angles to the pacing, Bonnie & Clyde seems designed to hold your attention like a vice until the very end. It's a very modern-feeling movie, and one that any classic or contemporary movie fan shouldn't hesitate to check out. Recommended.
A somewhat romanticized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang.
Bonnie & Clyde stands today as one of the most important films of the 60s, it's impact on culture alone marks it out as a piece of work to note, but as gangster films go this one is something of a landmark. Quite how writers Newman & Benton managed to craft a story of two deadbeat outlaws into cinematic heroes is up for any individual viewers scrutiny, but they bloody well do it because we all want to be in the Barrow gang, because we get lost in this romanticised outlawish tale unfolding in front of our eyes.
The film is a fusion of incredible violence and jaunty slapstick, and smartly pauses for delicate moments to let us into the psyche of the main protagonists, we know they have hangups, and with that we know they are fallible human beings, and this sets us up a treat for the incredible jaw dropping finale, and the impact of this finale hits as hard now as it did back with the audience's of 1967.
The cast are incredible, Warren Beatty gives a truly brilliant performance as Clyde, he looks good and suave tooting those guns, but it's in the tender troubled scenes where he excels supreme. Faye Dunaway as Bonnie is the perfect foil for Beatty's layers, she nails every beat of this gangsters troubled moll. Gene Hackman, Michael J Pollard, and Estelle Parsons put the cherry on the icing to give depth and range to the rest of the Barrow gang, and these fine actors are clothed in gorgeous cinematography courtesy of Burnett Guffrey. To round out the plaudits I finish with love for director Arthur Penn because it's his vision that gives us something of a nostalgic movie that plays up and down with its subjects with cheeky aplomb, in fact it's just like the banjo music that features so prominently throughout this wonderful film.
Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were simply kids trying to escape the misery and boredom of their small-time lives. He'd been in prison a few times, and she was a waitress. Most importantly, they were bright and eager for something more. They started robbing banks shortly after meeting each other, and from then on they were constantly on the run across the American South.
This film is very rich in the way it gives us a look into Bonnie and Clyde: both are beautiful, witty, impeccably dressed, almost never swear, have a great sense of humor. But, simultaneously, from a narrative point of view, it does not shy from showing that they are very capable of violence -and not particularly tortured by guilt afterwards-, and that they have basically no plans of ending their criminal lives any time soon. ,Bonnie and Clyde is glamourous, yes, but also raw. It's a long juxtaposition of the largely iconic images of Bonnie and Clyde in the desert, or taking mock-photos of themselves with rifles, on other, heavier images of bloodbath and gunfire. How flawlessly both aspects of the same story are joined is what makes it a remarkable film.
The Barrow gang was, from the core, a romanticized reflection of itself. Bonnie Parker wrote their own story in the form a poem named The Trail's End, which was published in the newspapers at the time. She was able to see the gang as an icon even before it was over, and this peculiarity gives the story of Bonnie and Clyde a very literary, which extends to cinematographic, quality, and in a way justifies the stylization to which their story has been subject, over and over.
This alternation between romance and violence is played to perfection by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, the two impossibly handsome criminals. Both of them not only have great presence, they also manage to strike a perfect balance as a couple onscreen, and deliver vivid, almost tangible performances. They're largely responsible (as well as, of course, the script) for the humanization of Bonnie and Clyde. Gene Hackman further proves his versatility as Clyde's brother Buck, Michael J. Pollard plays the gang's sidekick, and Estelle Parsons plays Buck's unbearable wife in a way that makes you want to kill her (this is a compliment).
As for the filmmaking itself, here is some of the most unique cinematography I've seen in any American film of the time. Taking advantage of the desert setting, with its unrelenting sun and sandstorms, Bonnie and Clyde is wrapped constantly in a golden haze. The costumes and art direction are no less evocative, and then there's the great visual and sound editing, responsible for making the final shoot-out scene of the film one of the most disturbing, fascinating moments of its genre.
You know how Bonnie and Clyde is going to end. The film is watching a raging fire that's about to burn itself out and will be just a pile of dead embers in a few hours. It's the characters destiny. Making it a tougher film to make, but director Arthur Penn is able to give us a film that is half news reel and half documentary. Instead of hardened criminals lusting for blood you get people with personalities. This is probably WarrenBeatty's best role of his career as he gives Clyde depth and accomplishes a hard feat: we forget that it's Warren Beatty. We believe it's Clyde Barrow. Faye Dunaway does the same. She's transformed into that girl from a Texas, yet there's still that glamour on the screen. Gene Hackman is one of the driving forces in the middle of the film. His portrayal of Buck Barrow is of a jovial figure, yet with a heavy heart that he and his wife have been drug into this mess. An early masterpiece fromHackman.
Bonnie and Clyde is an enjoyable ride to the end of the wick so to speak. Violent beyond its years (considering it was released before the ratings system) it doesn't glorify its violence. There is actual regret over the dead that was unusual in films at that point. The film was ahead of it.s time and remains a great classic.