August 17, 1967 [Bonnie and Clyde]

Clyde Barrow's gun works so well that Bonnie Parker bites her lip and widens her eyes just looking at it. They walk into a hail of bullets and two-step their way to Hell without a backward glance--just a quick look at each other, pirates in stolen cars re-imagining the Great Depression as a sea of grass on which they sail, unsure of the winds but happy to be afloat--and angry, revisiting highways like Bob Dylan gone electric, Enemies of the People with a song--no, a poem: Bonnie's--in their hearts.

Bonnie and Clyde is funny and puzzling and brutal and arch, with a visual style as convincing as a barfight broken bottle--and that's about as convincing as it gets. Arthur Penn is more than willing to let his camera bounce like a Tommy gun in his hands, and I've gone back three times to watch those moments of startled recognition: of love and imminent doom--the photo-realist ballet at the end, Clyde's hand limp, held out to Bonnie with more than a little shame--"no lover boy," he had insisted, showing her how to shoot.


  1. Shit yes. These were mad children, not cynical or sinister citizens of the prohibition underworld, and what made their particular odyssey of violence so compelling was that it was carried out with such childlike enthusiasm. Just saw this myself, and no tragedy has ever brightened my day quite as much.

    My Bonnie and Clyde post


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