Friday, August 28, 2009

"Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) - Movie Review

The price of the excitement is the high life on the high wire with casualty falling around and the final demise being the person who took that path. “Bonnie and Clyde” gives those two people deciphering each other in a second of their eye to eye meet and run with towards the road robbing banks and eventually killing people along their job prospects. Considered as a daring trendsetter in the American movie making, Arthur Penn along with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway gives a violent and merciless portrait of these two people.

When Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) spots Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) considering robbing her mom’s car, that is the best part in her mundane ritual of sufficing the role in a stale town. Clyde does not run away after Bonnie calls him to stay right there. He eludes his thievery by flirtation but he continues the walk with her to the town. Apart from Bonnie being deadly beautiful, Clyde sees her inside out. She is exactly the girl he is been waiting for. Bonnie teases him to push the extend of his truth that he served prison for armed robbery. He pulls up the gun and she gentle caresses the tip of it which is sexy and erotic on so many levels. She further instigates him to prove himself and he does so not on manipulation but he knows the thrill of it and the same he is going to provide her. They are madly made for each other.

After that they go on every other state to rob banks and live a running life. Initially Clyde is cautious about not hurting someone but Bonnie does not care that much. She is more on the terms than Clyde who got her for the ride. It becomes a matter of time before Clyde shoots the first man to be killed. From there on, there is no stopping. Arthur Penn tells about these two people who become perfect by practice, passionate together in performing it and goes on forever knowing the consequences.

They meet up with Clyde’s brother Buck (Gene Hackman) and Buck’s wife Blanche (Estelle Parsons). Buck has his head well balanced over his shoulder while Blanche is an emotional volcano. It is funny that we perceive her annoying as that of Bonnie does. She is but she is freaked out like any regular individual. And there we see what Penn has put the perspective on his audience.

It begins as an eventless film. Then it assimilates the characters and we do not like or dislike them. When they kill people, we see it as their job than a crime. When Bonnie begins to fall for emotional ties in her mom, Dunaway comes as a woman with odd feelings and biting the realism of running on a crime life. Clyde whole heartedly loves Bonnie. Bonnie wants to complete it with sex and Clyde’s impotence comes in the way. “I ain’t a lover boy” he keeps saying. That does not put their relationship on jeopardy.

The film hits its audience in the exact middle ground. Bonnie goes crazy on not seeing her mother and they have a family reunion. Her mother (Mabel Cavitt) has understandably transformed into a person Bonnie can no longer communicate affectionately. Her care for Bonnie comes out of natural instinct than genuine love. She has given up hopes on her daughter coming back that even when Bonnie fantasize of living within the three miles of her mom’s residence, she hits her hard with the reality of that never happening. She says it as a parent and a realist. This bitter truth is not something Bonnie did not know but wanted a caring moment on the expense of crazy fantasy. She comes back to the motel and confides with Clyde which I believe is the best part of the film.

“Bonnie and Clyde” is a film which has a cult status of its gory violence for that time. Not being there for that attitude cripples the viewer of current times to not acknowledge the boldness in the making of it. Yet the film is a one of a kind for the times when Hollywood clouded with the positive protagonists. Here Warrent Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the titular characters appear friendly when they are not shooting people for their defense. They pickup a couple (Gene Wilder and Evans Evans) after stealing their car, chatting them up and having a ball with them. Penn of course does not mull over their values or conscience of taking lives. “Bonnie and Clyde” has a status for its courageous film making but to truly appreciate, one should have been living in the times of it.

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