Director: Authur Penn
Starring: Warren Beatty
Michael J. Pollard
IMDb Rating: 8
My Rating: 8
"Some day, they'll go down together/ They'll bury them side by side/ To a few, it'll be grief/ But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde"
Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) has just been released from prison, and is turning to a life of bank robbing to avoid the hard times of the Depression. Clyde is very much a Robin Hood type, and he finds his Maid Marian in local Dallas waitress Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway). Bonnie is bored with her life at home, and wants out of her town. At first she doesn't quite believe that Clyde is the outlaw he claims to be, so he holds up a local general store. While fleeing, he grabs Bonnie and high tails it out of town. From this moment on, Bonnie and Clyde becomes synonymous with one another.
At first their robberies are pretty tame, no one is hurt, and it's only the banks that are robbed. Although things become increasingly violent as time progresses. They add a gas station attendant, C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard), along the way to add to their gang. Once Clyde's brother Buck (Gene Hackman) and his wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons) join up, it gets to be a very intense operation. They are now constantly on the run from police, and are often woken at night with gunshots flying through their windows. With a Texas ranger fast on their heels, Bonnie, Clyde, and the rest of the gang must elude capture before the law's justice is inevitably served.
What I liked most about Bonnie & Clyde was how beautifully shot and blended the film appears to be. The golds and browns are strikingly apparent, giving the film an almost classic sepia tone look. Much like those old time western photos you can get taken at theme parks. The look of the film also makes the appearance of blood much more bold and shocking. In many gangster films, you literally see buckets of blood thrown against walls, and it just becomes excessive. The way the violence and blood is used in moderation, actually makes the action scenes much more intense with this film. The perfect example of this being the very final scene, which is still talked about for it's shock value to this day. The overall look of Bonnie & Clyde is one of this film's shinning high points.
For the first time in the project, I actually do have a complaint. The soundtrack felt a little off for me. In the films' first sequences the music fits quite well, and doesn't seem out of place at all. Although, as the film goes on, I feel that the light-hearted music strips away some of the more dramatic moments. When one of the main characters gets killed, you don't need to play "Hee-Haw-esque" banjo music as their friend's are trying to escape. It was only in these scenes, that the music really took away from the film. It's small details like this, that will completely derail a film for me. Luckily, there are so many amazing things, that the music problem does seem a little insignificant.
The cast of actors in Bonnie and Clyde is a collective treat for the viewer. Faye Dunaway gives the best performance as free spirit Bonnie Parker, who adapts to a life of crime quite easily. Her comedic timing and abilities made you easily fall in love with her, even though she was essentially a villain. Warren Beatty gives arguably the best performance of his career as the selectively confident Clyde Barrow. I loved how Beatty played the vulnerabilities of Clyde's relationship with women and the law. When it came to rebelling against the law he was a ruthless, fearless, and comfortable. Although he was extremely clumsley and an all together mess around women. You think of Warren Beatty as a ladies man, so seeing him like this was ultimately rather humorous. Great supporting characters are also present from Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, and Estelle Parsons. The genuine performances from these fine actors give these "outlaws" a very human demeanor.
Other than the occasional poorly placed music track, I really liked Bonnie and Clyde. This is one of those movies that you could watch over and over again, and it would be just as good every time. It's beautiful cinematography paints a very gritty feel of old Texas. The cast ensembled for the film all turn in great performances as well. The whole time while watching this film, I was wishing that a film like Natural Born Killers would have relied less on the violence, and more on the story. Bonnie and Clyde is proof positive that you can make a great film about outlaws without the immense amounts of film studio blood.