Bonnie and Clyde is a love story. Bonnie is trapped in a dead end job, in dead end town, in a grim part of Texas, in the 1930s Great Depression. A very self-aware beautiful woman yearning for something better, where better is basically anything. Clyde is an ex-con drifting into town who, by chance, meets Bonnie. She mocks his criminality and, by implication, his manhood. This is after Clyde shows his gun. Taunting him he robs a store shooting at the shopkeeper. So begins their life of crime.
It quickly becomes apparent that Clyde is quasi-impotent. Bonnie literally flings herself on him after their first robbery but he ‘escapes’ her because he isn’t a ‘lover’. Throughout the film Bonnie is frustrated. She gets her sexual thrills from their audacious crimes, get-a-ways, shoot-outs and being on-the-run. Clyde is triumphant when he does successfully make love but it seems like a one off partial event not the beginning of a full blown relationship.
The American gangster film had been emptied of excitement by censorship. Bonnie and Clyde resurrected the genre. There are distinctly violent scenes, shoot-outs and worse, from the point of view of the censor, a total lack of remorse. Bonnie and Clyde loved being gangsters. Their end was an act of treachery not skilful detective work. Indeed the police are uniformly portrayed as incompetent.
Why you should see this film: It’s your film culture.
Why you shouldn’t see this film: It isn’t a Marvel comic spinoff.