Saturday, October 04, 2003


A Video Review of "Bonnie and Clyde"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Warren Beauty worked long and hard to get this film made and as with other projects he put his heart and soul into (Bullworth, Dick Tracy) the result is nearly flawless. Hollywood was dead set against Beatty’s vision. He was bringing unwelcome European sensibilities to the United States. Some might say he was the Orson Welles of his time.

The performances are near perfect; Faye Dunaway at the peak of her career and Oscar-nominated work by Beatty, Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Michael J. Pollard, director Arthur Penn and Estelle Parsons who won for supporting actress. Parsons’ hysterics and Hackman’s disturbing death scene are among the finest in the film.

There are so many good performances in this film, too many to count almost. There is Pollard’s adoring C.W. Moss, Denver Pyle’s vengeful Texas Ranger and Mabel Cavitt’s haunting portrayal of Bonnie Parker’s mother. Longtime character actor Dub "Cannonball" Taylor has the role of his life as C.W. Moss’ father, in my opinion the finest of his career.

We watch Bonnie and Clyde's romance through the ups and downs of the Depression era anti-heroes. And as dysfunctional as it is Bonnie and Clyde is still a love story. From their meeting in the first few minutes to their grisly end we know they love each other no matter the absurd obstacles. Beatty and Dunaway are incredible. Because the characters are so well defined we love them and root for them so hard it hurts when the end comes.

There are so many good scenes here, poignant and humorous and violent. Who can forget the humiliation of the Texas Ranger? Or the kidnapping of Gene Wilder and his girlfriend? Or Flatt and Scruggs’ "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" accompanying the chase scenes. The ending is both breathtakingly and bloody. Its slow motion finality definitely influenced John Woo in his Hong Kong action films.

This is probably one of the best gangster movies ever made, I can watch it over and over again.

A shorter and less interesting version of this review previously appeared at Project Popcorn.

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