Sunday, July 18, 2010

The 100 Best Movies: #63

63. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

This is a very intriguing film. It is a character study movie that studies villainous characters. Right there the whole traditional story structure is thrown off course when the main protagonists are antagonists. In addition to the juxtaposition of moviemaking traditions, the graphic nature of the violence and hedonism that the lead criminals take part in had never been put on film in that manner before. The fasicnation with these characters, bank robbers Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway in a thrilling performance) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty, who I usually am not a fan of, but here is quite good), was so strong that it seeped into the fashion of the time (women started dressing like Dunaway's Bonnie). The leads are both very good (particularly Dunaway) and, while their characters are very amoral, the audience in some way roots for them all the way up to the exciting climax. There are so many elements of this film that are good besides the two leads and the story structure (bad boy meets girl, they rob banks and kill people). The fast-paced direction (by stage and screen legend Arthur Penn) with its quick edits and cuts, powerful photography and jarring sound give this film the chilling nature a story about these people requires. The supporting cast, including a fine turn from Gene Hackman as Clyde's brother, is also very good. It is a great film that by today's standards would be considered tame, but in the late 1960's was quite revolutionary (and fit in with the social unrest of the times).

Next Post: #62

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