movie film review | chris tookey

Bonnie And Clyde

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  Bonnie And Clyde Review
Tookey's Rating
9 /10
Average Rating
9.71 /10
Warren Beatty , Faye Dunaway , Estelle Parsons
Full Cast >

Directed by: Arthur Penn
Written by: David Newman, Robert Benton

Released: 1967
Genre: CRIME
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 111

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It is not just an exciting picture. It is part of a campaign to destroy the morals of Western youth.
(V. Menshikov, Pravda)
Conceptually, the film leaves much to be desired, because killings and the backdrop of the Depression are scarcely material for a bundle of laughs... The performances are mostly erratic. Beatty is believable at times, but his characterization lacks any consistency.
Producer Beatty and Director Arthur Penn have elected to tell their tale of bullets and blood in a strange and purposeless migling of fact and claptrap that teeters uneasily on the brink of burlesque. Like Bonnie and Clyde themselves, the film rides off in all directions and ends up full of holes.
The whole thing stinks in the manner of a carefully made-up, combed, and manicured corpse... What is basically wrong with the film is not so much violence as hero worship... To argue as they do that in periods of social injustice (which means anywhere this side of Utopia) the outlaw is clearly superior to the staid, plodding citizen is sentimental nonsense and moral truancy... The film's aestheticizing continually obtrudes on and obfuscates moral values. Thus, with one highly debatable exception, the crimes and killings performed by the Barrow gang are all picturesque, humorous, cozy or, at worst, matter-of-fact affairs. But the violence performed upon the gang is always made as harrowingly inhuman as possible. This is explained by the champions of the film as the outlaws' related awareness that death is real, and the grave their goal ó in other words, a rude moral awakening. But, in fact, Clyde makes it clear, in an idyllic scene, that had he to do it over again, he would do exactly the same. He has learned nothing. Fair enough, if only the filmmakers did not so resoundingly applaud him for it.
(John Simon, National Review)
A cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that treats the hideous depradations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cut-ups in Thoroughly Modern Millie... This blending of farce with brutal killings is as pointless as it lacking in taste, since it makes no valid commentary upon the already travestied truth. And it leaves an astonished critic wondering just what purpose Mr Penn and Mr Beatty think they serve with this strangely antique, sentimental claptrap.
(Bosley Crowther, New York Times)
I had intended to... let loose a stream of vitriol after I saw the film, which is, now three weeks ago, alas, and in the meantime I have cooled off somewhat. Nevertheless I am still furious, more toward the public which acclaims it and enjoys it than toward the producer and director, though I hold them fully responsible for this monstrous piece of entertainment... In the first ten minutes I was ready to walk out. I was thoroughly bored not to say disgusted by the sheer idiocy of the film... I should add right here that I am not against... killing in self-defense... But wanton, senseless killing, coldblooded murder is another matter... Worse.. is the presentation of murder as a form of entertainment... The viewers are even more sick than the killers... The men who make money from such productions... [are] not only sick but... evil-minded... [lacking] all sense of guilt.
(Henry Miller, International Playmen)
So incompetently written, acted, directed and produced it would not be worth noticing were a claque not attempting to promote the idea that its sociopathology is art... There is evil in the tone of the writing, acting and direction of this film, the claculated effect of which is to incite in the young the delusion that armed robbery and murder are mere 'happenings'... Who directed? Arthur Penn, whose artistic integrity is about on the level of Beatty's acting ability - i.e., close to zero.
(Films in Review)
The killing doubtless falls into the category of rollicking family entertainment, to be enjoyed by all except vegetarians and other mean and ascetic spoilsports. Yes, I have to admit that it was this that brought the censor out in me... I found it obscene.
(Sean Day-Lewis, Daily Telegraph)
Pauline Kaelís panegyric about Bonnie and Clyde runs sixteen and one-half tall octavo pages in rather fine print, and her enthusiasm for this American imitation-New Wave film epitomizes a sensibility that prefers trash to art, and plays, albeit more cleverly and guardedly, the same kind of games as the auteur critics to justify low-down cravings.
(John Simon, 1971)

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