The only way you were getting rich in the 30’s was by robbing banks. So yeah, hate on these two for being young, smart, and prosperous.
Living in America during the Depression was hard. However, for Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty): it sure as hell wasn’t as long as they had their guns, their minds, and their love to fully round everything out. Together, the two pulled off a series of daring bank robberies and found their way to becoming two of the most notorious outlaws in American history. This is their sad, but true story.
Viewing these older movies and reviewing them is not an easy chore to complete, especially when they are considered “classics” like this one here. Usually, you have to take this movie how it is but you also feel pressured into making it sound like this movie is some end-all, be-all masterpiece, just because you saw people like Roger Ebert (R.I.P. my friend) say so. However, I’m not going to back down from a fight and I’m going to step over the line and say that THIS MOVIE IS……..good.
What makes this movie such a classic in terms of American cinema is because it was broke down some large-barriers back in the day. Due to the fact that it was filled with incredible amounts of violence, some sexual tension that was actually shown (somewhat), and some booty-showing, this movie had some people up in arms about what people should, and should not see in the movie theaters (oh, if only they could see us now). But that was back in 1967, when these sort of things being in a movie were almost unheard of, which is why you have to give Arthur Penn a lot of credit for taking that huge step and showing his material for what it was worth. The violence and killings here aren’t as graphic and disturbing as some of the stuff we see now, but the film still has plenty of it to make anybody’s grand-mom get a little scared.
One thing that at first bothered me, was that I felt like Penn was really just glamorizing everything that these two did. From the robberies, to the kidnappings, to the murders, and to everything else, it felt like I was watching Penn show us how cool it is to be like them, when in reality: he was just showing us the facts. A lot of the stuff you see in this film, is pretty much how it all happened and it’s not being shown in any hip or cool way, it’s just the way it was and how these two functioned back in the days. And whenever the shoot-out scenes do come up, they are very fun and you never know what’s going to happen next. That is, unless you haven’t been paying attention in history-class, ever.
But what really made me realize that this is no masterpiece, is that it’s just so damn dated with it’s writing. Right from the start, we get all of this corny talk between Bonnie and Clyde where they are constantly just acting like total dumb-asses with their Southern accents that make them sound like a really-bad extra from Deliverance. That was obviously annoying, and a lot of the delivery that Beatty and Dunaway used too, was annoying just because they seemed just a tad too spirited about all of this, almost to the point of where it was basically campy. I mean, what do I expect from a film that was made in the late 60’s, but I know what bothers me, and half of this dialogue is what did it for me.
Also, aside from the main 4 in this cast, everybody else sucks at acting. The kid who played C.W. Moss was really bad and made me laugh my ass off by how idiotic this character, and this actor was. For a prime example, there was the one scene where Bonnie and Clyde first meet him, and he just looks so damn awkward, stumbling around the set like a little fool. His character is pretty much one of those stereotypical country-bumpkins, that doesn’t know how to do anything else other than fix cars (because you know, that’s what all Southerners do). Hell, even the film wanted to take the high-road and go off and write him as he truly was in real life, then good, just get a better actor to play it so it isn’t so damn obvious that this kid blows major cock. There’s plenty of others here that excruciatingly bad as well and I think it’s just a strange mixture of bad acting and some bad lines that just makes everybody come off like they’re over-acting it a bit. But in some cases, they aren’t even acting at all, so it’s either one way or another. No reason for the Blondie reference, but just thought I’d throw it in there while it’s still fresh and clean in my head.
But other than these terrible supporting-performances, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway do some pretty kick-ass jobs with their titular roles and are easily the best things about this flick. They definitely have some great chemistry together and you can tell that the film is going to show them a lot together, but it surprisingly doesn’t. Instead, it gives them more time apart to develop on their own, but even when it does come back to them being with one another, it feels like it’s developing both of their characters and giving us two people that we can feel some essence of sympathy for and actually like. Beatty is this wild, high-strung dude that just wants to make his lady happy, and Dunaway is this sad and l0nely girl that is getting the worst case of homesickness, ever. Two very good performances as even when things for Bonnie and Clyde turn darker and they start doing more bad things, you still like them and I don’t know why that was. Either way, easily the best things about this flick even if there is some more to see.
Oh, and don’t forget to be on the look-out for a performance from Gene Hackman as Clyde’s big-bro. Having Gene Hackman in any movie is always a treat, but this one especially since he actually shows everybody how to act. God, I miss him.
Consensus: Probably more influential than it is perfection, Bonnie and Clyde suffers from a terribly-dated script, and bad performances from everybody else involved, other than the four main stars. Still, you can’t go wrong with a film that was willing to show us these two criminals in a sympathetic-light and be able to get away with it, surprisingly. Oh, and the final scene is pretty freakin’ awesome, too. But I bet you have all already seen it, haven’t you?
7 / 10 = Rental!!