Some characters are always going to ignite the imagination and call for adaptation. Bonnie and Clyde are no exception, with a love story, crime and death all thrown in the mix, add to that the fact that it is a true story, and you have the kind of tale that people love to be told, and retold!
I doubt this is the best version of the tale though. It is a very solid retelling of the story, giving itself a good two-part structure to really give the story the breadth and detail that a standard movie would struggle with but often the fiction is better than the truth and the myth is better than the fact.
Due to the fact that it is a two-part TV movie, rather than the standard, cinematic fare, we are treated to the life of Clyde Barrow, his troubled childhood and how he met and fell in love instantly with Bonnie Parker. It takes a little while before the two begin to rob banks and even when they do, the actual motivation behind the crimes seems slightly shallow, with little explanation to why they are undertaking these violent crimes.
The bank robberies and the crime spree are the best parts of the movie. It’s in these scenes, rather than the slow build to the crimes, that the actors get to really perform. Emile Hirsch is a solid choice for Clyde, although his looks betray him, never really seeming to embody a love-mad killer. Holliday Grainger is more convincing as Bonnie, who spins on a dime between manipulative and cruel to innocent victim.
The central pair are ably supported, no more so than by William Hurt as Frank Hamer, the man who chased down the pair to their bloody demise. He hasn’t got much to do but he does lend some sort of credibility to the movie, as does Holly Hunter in another minor role as Bonnie’s mother.
It is this sort of extra push that the movie needs because it doesn’t do anything more than you’d expect from a basic TV drama. It is pretty standard, with no flash or real special edge to the story. It doesn’t feel like event television or a show worthy of such an interesting and compelling story. In places, it is too muddled or aimless, not really knowing how it wants to present the criminals at the centre of the story.
Overall, Bonnie and Clyde is a movie that undersells its main, compelling and very famous true story. The leads are solid, if a little overshadowed by their real life counterparts, and there is enough of a good supporting cast to keep the movie afloat. Unfortunately, the story feels very padded, confused and underwhelming regarding how good the story actually is.
Rating – 2.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)