Friday, December 5, 2008

BONNIE AND CLYDE (Arthur Penn, 1967, USA) A product of the late sixties social upheaval, BONNIE AND CLYDE redefined popular cinema and made the anti-hero a Hollywood convention! Our “heroes” played by the violently stunning Faye Dunaway and handsome self-deprecating Warren Beatty immediately attracts our attention…and sympathy. If you want the true historical account of these two murderers then watch the History Channel or check out the Wikipedia; if you want an overly romanticized, tall-tale version that is eminently entertaining then queue this now. The film’s thematic structure shocks our visual senses: we experience almost slapstick comedy during violent shootouts where we are not spared the blood or death and the sexual tension between the lovers is unbearable…the only gun that Clyde barrow shoots is his own Smith & Wesson! This causes a moral dilemma in the audience because we emotionally connect with the fugitives but can’t minimize their murder of innocent policemen. Their superficial cold-blooded morality echoes of nihilism as they soon realize that their time is short because they can’t run forever. The violent ending is a masterpiece of just desserts and the slow-motion execution must have shocked audiences in 1967. Tightly scripted, beautifully filmed, with a bluegrass score that punctuates the bloody action, BONNIE AND CLYDE is a masterpiece that has influenced modern cinema. On a separate note, I watched this on Blu-ray and the quality was astounding! Detail and color were exceptional and awe inducing; it looked better than it probably did during its theatrical premier! (B+)

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