Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BONNIE AND CLYDE


BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967). Director: Arthur Penn.

This film was quite polarizing when it first came out, with some finding it slick and cinematic; others repellent and empty -- both viewpoints have validity. Warren Beatty isn't bad as Clyde Barrow, the leader of a group of depression-era bank robbers, but he's never quite believable, either. The same could be said of Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker, although she certainly demonstrates star-making vitality. The trouble with both of the leads is that they never seem quite as stupid as the people they're playing. Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons and Michael J. Pollard as relatives and fellow gang members are perhaps more on the mark. Today Bonnie and Clyde seems almost benign next to Goodfellas and similar movies. The picture doesn't really glorify these murdering robbers so much as it shows how pathetic and desperate they and their self-absorbed lives really are. But the movie can't really be considered a serious examination of these people because the characters lack dimension and the film can't seem to make up its mind whether or not to take them -- or itself, in fact -- seriously or not. In any case, the picture is generally entertaining and well-done, but it goes on about half an hour too long and is very Hollywood-ized to say the least.

Verdict: Okay, but maybe watch Little Caesar instead. **1/2.

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