28 May, 2013

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

The ANU film group solicited short reviews for the semester 1, 2013 programme. This is my review of Bonnie and Clyde for them.

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty star as the prettier-than-life titular characters in Arthur Penn’s well-received work. Occasionally criticised for its deviations from historical fact, this is still a very well made and engaging film. The story is of the famous american criminal duo Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow as well as their gang.

During The Great Depression, Bonnie is bored and frustrated with her lot in life. When she meets small-time ex-con Clyde, adventure and excitement enters their life in an escalating crime-spree of robbery and murder across the US South-West. The depression-era backdrop explains both the characters motivations and also the growing media-interest in the gang’s exploits as it gathers momentum.
What begins as a spirited adventure and love affair grows darker as the gang’s actions and the law’s reactions both get progressively more serious. As reality begins to close-in, the gang’s numbers dwindle and the core duo’s liberty is increasingly curtailed until the inevitable grim conclusion.
Arthur Penn was fascinated by Akira Kurosawa’s depiction of violence and this influence is most apparent in its groundbreakingly gruesome final scene.
The soundtrack from Earl and Scruggs also sets a fitting mood for the story.
The film has several famous and fresh-faced actors co-starring including Gene Hackman as Buck Barrow and the debut of Gene Wilder as Eugene Grizzard.

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