Bonnie & Clyde (2013)

Bonnie & Clyde

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The two-part TV movie is based on the true story of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Barrow, a charismatic convicted armed robber, sweeps Parker – a young and impressionable, petite, small-town waitress, who is already married – off her feet. In the early 1930s, the two embark on one of the most infamous crime sprees in American history.

Part 1: Tells the story of Clyde Barrow’s childhood growing up in rural Texas with his older brother Buck as they steal chickens, and later they do a stint in prison for stealing bigger and better things. After Buck ends up incarcerated again, Clyde meets the love of his life Bonnie Parker, who dreams of becoming a movie star in Hollywood. Soon the couple goes on a crime spree, robbing banks together after Clyde’s partner is caught. They are able to stay one step ahead of the “laws” while they rob bigger banks in the state.

Part 2: Clyde asks his newlywed brother Buck to help them. Not wanting to be alone at home, his wife Blanche becomes the fourth member of the Barrow Gang. However, Bonnie pushes Clyde to commit more dangerous crimes and rob banks across the state line to generate headlines in the newspapers, and their life of crime soon leads to their deaths.

REVIEW:

I actually let Bonnie & Clyde (2013) slip by me when it first aired, only catching bits and pieces because I was watching something else. Tonight, though, I was able to sit down and watch all 4 hours. Before I go on any further, although this isn’t a remake, the comparisons to Bonnie & Clyde starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway are inevitable.

What is this about?

Clyde Barrow, a charismatic convicted armed robber, sweeps Bonnie Parker, an impressionable small-town waitress, off her feet, and the two embark on one of the most infamous bank-robbing sprees in history.

What did I like?

Authenticity. Before I flipped through and saw that this was on tonight, there was an interesting documentary about the Bonnie & Clyde that brought to life some of the facts that I was not aware of before. Those same facts were omitted from the Beatty version of these two outlaws, but this version took the time to not make everything about them so sugar-coated. There was strife between the two lovers, Bonnie was not little Miss Perfect, Clyde had his own set of insecurities, etc.

Bonnie. Most portrayals of Bonnie Parker, even in the media of the time, have her as a perfect embodiment of culture at the time. Holliday Grainger’s porcelain beauty definitely helps define the wannabe actress part of the character, but it his her acting that really allows Bonnie to come back to life.

Go Speed Racer. I can’t remember what it was that I was watching or listening to the other day, but they mention how Emile Hirsch was supposed to have been the next big thing in Hollywood, but instead, he’s become a shadow of what he can be. As we can see here, and with some of his other independent films, Hirsch shows a wide variety of moods. At times, Hirsch looks to be channeling his inner Leonardo DiCaprio, and that’s it just fine with me. What really matters is that he takes the villainous leader of the Barrow Gang, Clyde Barrow, and humanize the guy, which is something that is barely is done in the previous film.

What didn’t I like?

Laser like focus. Some people praised the laser like focus that was shown by Frank Hamer, but I’m not one of them. To me, it felt like he was wronged in some way by these two he had never met, save for an off chance meeting early on in the film with Clyde (which probably didn’t happen). Bonnie & Clyde accidentally killed one person when he was called in, but because these bank robbers freed some prisoners, it became a federal case, one that wasn’t going to end until they were dead. Maybe I’m sympathetic to the duo, but it just doesn’t seem right.

Mother’s Day. Both Bonnie and Clyde’s mother’s are portrayed as a bit bi-polar, if you will. Bonnie’s mother is very loving and all, but she can’t stand that her daughter isn’t marrying the “right guy” or going off into this dark path rather than following her dream of being an actress. Clyde’s mother is very supporting, even with the crime stuff, surprisingly, but after Buck is killed, you can imagine that she isn’t as interested in being a loving mother to someone who was the reason her oldest boy is laying in a grave.

Romance over substance. Personally, I’m more interested in the criminal life of Bonnie & Clyde, like we saw in the Warrant Beatty take on their lives, as opposed to the romantic side. Now, the romance is great and all. For goodness sakes, they died in the car together, but I don’t believe it should have taken so much of a forefront in this picture that we forget these two were gangsters and not Romeo & Juliet (or some other great couple).

Bonnie & Clyde was a decent miniseries that aired over 3 networks simultaneously upon its initial showing. They managed to capture more of the history of these figures that previous films have done and seemed to be more in tune with the era, what with the soundtrack and look of the cast. Still, it seems as if this was made to get people interested in the history of Bonnie & Clyde, rather than an entertaining film. I guess what I’m trying to say is this might as well have been one of those documentaries that is acted out with little narration. Still, I found it entertaining and believe it is worth a watch, at least once. Do I recommend it? Yes, I do…if you have 4 hours to spare.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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