Bonnie & Clyde
I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to remake "Bonnie and Clyde," (Arthur Penn’s classic 1967 film that tells the story of two notorious bank robbers who left behind a trail of bullets and bloodshed throughout their infamous crime spree) let alone as a mini-series for Lifetime, A&E and The History Channel, but the result is even more jarringly bland than I expected.
When Penn’s original film was released into theatres, it shocked both critics and audiences with its controversial depictions of graphic violence, but it went on to become one of the keystone American films of the 1960s, and highly influenced how other filmmakers would go on to portray violent content in a way that powerfully serves the themes and the characters of their pictures. Therefore, it’s baffling to me why director Bruce Beresford, and the writers John Rice & Joe Batteer, thought that this drab made-for-TV remake would provide a fresh take on such an iconic work of cinema. It’s not that the film isn’t filled with bloody shoot-outs, or that these networks are incapable of presenting edgy material (several Lifetime movies center on murder, along with people kidnapping women’s babies), but the raw grittiness of Penn’s original film has been sugarcoated with the glossy style of so many other personality-free films that are produced for television.
Emile Hirsch, a fantastic young actor, inhabits the role of Clyde this time around, but even his charming appeal can’t salvage this dull, cliché-ridden script, which paints him as a dim, one-dimensional delinquent. Equally flat is the film’s characterization of Bonnie, played by Holliday Granger, who teams up with Clyde after her dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress begin to diminish following a rejection letter from Columbia University. Even Academy-Award winners Holly Hunter and William Hurt are unable to bring any form of life to this production, which jumps from plot-point to plot-point without any sense of narrative through-line or tonal consistency, and features one of the laziest uses voice-over narration in recent memory (show, don’t tell, writers).
The minuscule bonus features on the second disc include two fifteen-minute making-of featurettes, "Iconography: The Story of Bonnie & Clyde," and "A Legendary Story Revisited," which was made exclusively for the Blu-ray release. There are also two ten-minute featurettes, "Becoming Bonnie" and "Becoming Clyde," focused mainly on how stars Holliday Granger and Emile Hirsch prepared to inhabit the quintessential title roles. The extras are more interesting than the film itself, but provide very little depth into the making of the project as a whole. Regardless of whatever amount of research from the lives of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went into the project, this contemporary retelling of their story is a hollow, instantly forgettable dud.
"Bonnie and Clyde"