Friday, January 19, 2007

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Arthur Penn's famed revolutionary cinematic object remains today a fresh and vital film even as its influence can be seen in everything from Badlands to Natural Born Killers. I think the reason it works as well as it does, even as others in its wake have copped (and, in the case of Badlands, even improved upon) its methods is that it perfectly nails down and stays true to the tonal complexity hinted at in its infamous tagline ("They're young, they're in love... they kill people.") The screenplay never loses sight of the fact that, at heart, these are just two young goofy kids getting off on their notoriety. So there's a certain amount of youth-group romanticism present here. Penn and company, though, aren't afraid to explode their own mythologizing; saddling Warren Beatty's handsome, charmingly klutzy Clyde with impotence plays havoc with the pretty-boy perception of him, and creating graphic violence at odds with the insouciant road-movie business gets intelligent people thinking about who it is we're sympathizing with. Like many a great work of art, it lures us in with seductive allure (i.e. Faye Dunaway at her sexiest doing obscene things to a Coke bottle) then smacks you full in the face. Bonnie and Clyde may have been pretty, but they ain't pretty no more.

Grade: A-


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home