TV Review Jackie K Cooper
"Bonnie & Clyde" (Lifetime, A&E, History)
There is good and bad in the mini-series "Bonnie & Clyde" just as there was good and bad in the young couple who robbed banks. The mini-series is mostly good while the young bank robbing couple was mostly bad. You get to see all aspects of both in the four hour story that unfolds simultaneously on Lifetime, A&E and History channels on Sunday, December 8 and Monday, December 9.
The first night of the story is tedious at times and overall just takes too long to get started. We learn how Bonnie Parker (Holliday Grainger) and Clyde Barrow (Emile Hirsch) met, and how they teamed up to rob banks. We also learn that Clyde had visions of Bonnie long before he met her and continued having these precognitive visions up till the end of his life.
The first night also goes into how Bonnie is obsessed with celebrity and actually has fainting spells when she thinks her career dreams are being thwarted. Her mother (Holly Hunter) actually encourages these dreams even when they take a dangerous turn.
Clyde is just a good boy gone bad. He too is close to his mama (Dale Dickey) but his hopes for a better life lead him into crime. Then when he does get sent to prison it does not rehabilitate him but makes him a darker soul.
The second night is when the crime sprees really get rolling and the tempo of the movie does too. This is when Bonnie and Clyde team up with Clyde's brother Marvin (Lane Garrison) and his wife Blanche (Sarah Hyland) to rob bigger banks with better payoffs.
The locations and look of the settings and characters are amazingly authentic. The audience is taken back to the 20's and 30's when times were tough and crime was rampant. There is a real feel for how crooks were glamorized even by the press. Elizabeth Reaser plays reporter P J Lane who is easily manipulated by Bonnie to make her and Clyde the heroes rather than the villains.
Hirsch and Grainger jump right into the iconic shoes of these two, even managing at times to block out memories of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Grainger is porcelain doll pretty and Hirsch is gangster good looking. However Hirsch does not project the evilness within Barrow that is required in order to understand the character. Grainger does illuminate Bonnie's flaws.
Holly Hunter and William Hurt, who plays lawman Frank Hamer, add dramatic strength to the production. This is however the film in which Holly Hunter officially becomes Julie Harris. The two actresses look alike, sound alike and act alike.
"Bonnie & Clyde" has moments of excitement and charm, but also has some which are tedious and lackluster. It is an uneven production from beginning to end. You may enjoy parts of it but four hours is a long time to only have sporadic enjoyment.
"Bonnie & Clyde" airs December 8 and 9 at 9PM on the Lifetime, A&E and History channels.
Jackie K Cooper