19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Bonnie & Clyde: they rob banks and glorify violence,
By A Customer
This review is from: Bonnie And Clyde  [DVD] (DVD)I lost my romantic idealization of Bonnie and Clyde ("We rob banks!") years ago when I saw a documentary that include Bonnie Parker's half naked bullet riddled body in the morgue. Arthur Penn's 1967 film might have romanticized the infamous Depression bank robbers, but its legacy was that it made violence in American films palatable. Sam Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch" was accused of glorifying violence and was not enough of a success at the box office to get the credit for this dubious honor. The finale of "Bonnie and Clyde" had the virtue, so to speak, of being historically accurate.
The climax of the film is unforgettable (not even Sonny's death in "The Godfather" really compares) but it is really something of a coda to the rest of the film which is dominated by the five Oscar nominated performances of Warren Beatty (Clyde Barrow), Faye Dunaway (Bonnie Parker), Estelle Parsons (who won the Supporting Actress award for Blanche Barrow), Gene Hackman (Buck Barrow), and Michael Pollard (C. W. Moss). Beatty and Dunaway have never been better. Add into the mix Gene Wilder in his first film role as Eugene Grizzard, a nervous young man who had the misfortune of having his car "borrowed" by the Barrow gang (Wilder's next film would be "The Producers"; talk about starting fast in Hollywood).
In the final analysis I find this a very provocative film. It takes the "Robin Hood" image of thieves and once we are comfortable with rooting along these two crazy kids, the film begins to make us uncomfortable with that support. Bonnie and Clyde are neither heroes not anti-heroes, but rather counter-heroes. They are "good" because the law enforcement figures are clearly the modern counterparts for the Sherrif of Nottinghman's men. There is also something to be said that no matter how charming Clyde/Warren happens to be, that big goofy smile cannot stop a hail of bullets. But even in the end we want to deny the truth, that these two people reaped what they sowed. Mabye the moral ambiguity is just a strategic pose, to justify the romantic story of a gang of murdering bank robbers and/or the bloodbath finale. As I said, this is a provocative film. Watch it sometime and get provoked.