Regie's Take on the History of Cinema

December 12, 2010

The most underrated scene in Bonnie and Clyde (A Review)

by regiesh

I’m hyped up on coffee and green tea and ready to write these wonderful film reviews I have let linger for so long.

I am not just starting with Penn’s “Bonnie and Clyde” because it was the most recent film our class has screened but because I am always blown away by one particular scene that everyone seemed to leave out in their analyses.

What scene you ask? The first scene of the entire film, and not even the entire scene. It might be because I’m strung out on caffeine that I’m writing the way I am but the first scene of the film always speaks volumes to me about Dunaway’s character.

We’re only two minutes and forty seconds into the film when Bonnie walks from her mirror to her bed, collapsing gracefully. Mind you, there’s no dialogue whatsoever. Faye Dunaway, (Bonnie) looks out between the bars of her bed frame and begins to angrily paws and punch the bottom bar. After repeatedly doing so she pulls her her body up to the bars, pressing her face between the frame. The camera then zooms up to her eyes; remaining there for at least five seconds. I find this to be one of, if not the most powerful scene in the entire film. This may be an audacious statement but it is the only scene in the film that gives me literal chills. Penn successfully revealed so much about the character without saying a word.

So, what exactly has come from these few moments?
Dunaway, pressing her face between the bed frame seems like a decently obvious metaphor for feeling caged, having a feeling of ennui about life, etc. All the same, it’s shot so beautifully and at such a perfect angle that though somewhat cliche it still strikes me as amazing. From these few second alone we already understand she leads an uneventful dissatisfying life but Penn pushes this feeling further by shooting a close up of her eyes. Dunaway effortlessly convinces the viewer that she truly unhappy and feeling restless with her current situation. Though it may be impulsive that she runs off with Clyde, it should make sense to the viewer why. Hopefully you’ll re-watch this scene and appreciate it as much as I do.

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