Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Retro Review: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
'Bonnie and Clyde': A Dynamite Portrait Of Violent Youth
Whenever there is a film that comes out that critics or audiences don't know how to warm up to or really warm up to, it is usually a film that changes the game for cinema, whether it'd be Pulp Fiction which started the trend of non-linear storytelling or Brokeback Mountain which was a boundary breaker in terms of romance films. Bonnie and Clyde, however, was a film that people were unsure how to warm up to, yet today is considered an essential piece of filmmaking.
Bonnie and Clyde follows the story of two youngsters named Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty). They are both bank robbers who fall in love after a chance encounter yet start to find themselves on the run from the law.
One thing that I liked which surprised me was how the film manages to become more humanistic as the film progresses. Once Bonnie and Clyde find themselves on the run and Clyde's family starts to get involved, we begin to see that these are two youngsters trapped by their own choices. The film is very much about rebellious youth and it shows that even though these two people are violent bank robbers, they are practically still youngsters. There is even a scene where Bonnie says how she misses her mother. So, the film doesn't just demonstrate youth and violence, but how these youths are affected by their own doing.
I also thought the performances by the two leads were spectacular. Warren Beatty brings such spectacular and utter charm to the role of cunning bank robber Clyde while Faye Dunaway is equally as charming and devious yet is a bit more vulnerable. The two of them have such rich chemistry and I found myself on their side. Apparently, when the film came out, it received a lot of controversy for making the criminals the heroes as well as for its violence, but that's only because at the time, making the criminals the heroes hadn't really been done and I think critics just didn't know how to warm up to a film like that. It is like of like how when Brokeback Mountain came out, there were plenty that didn't know how to warm up to a romance between two gay cowboys. So it was a real game changer when it came out and is still very essential to this day.
Overall, Bonnie and Clyde is an essential piece of cinema that features dynamite, star-making performances from its two charismatic leads. It is a violent tale that still manages to serve as a morality tale about two violent youngsters that at the end of the day are still youngsters.
Would I Recommend It?:
Absolutely. It is a classic and even though it has its fair share of violent scenes, it's nothing too crazy. At the time, it was considered crazy, but now, it wouldn't be. Although, this film was one of, if not the first, to open the door for more films about sex and violence.