Friday, 14 February 2014

Bonnie and Clyde (2013)

As I've mentioned previously, if like me you're of a certain generation and hail from the UK you may agree that you find it quite strange to see the now grown up and very beautiful Holliday Grainger playing the gun toting Bonnie Parker in this glossy two part TV movie, because to people like us she is still the child actress who played the ever so cute Kirsty in BBC1's Preston Front during the mid 90s.



The porcelain doll looking Grainger's career has gone from strength to strength in recent years bagging such prized roles as Lucrezia in The Borgias and now of course this. But it's interesting to note she finds Hollywood too daunting a place to live (for now) and is happy to remain in Manchester. Interesting because on the strength of this, she looks every inch the rather alternative and vibrant American star in the making. Again, it's a long way from Preston Front.

Mention Bonnie and Clyde and most people will immediately think of the infamous 1967 classic starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Great though that film was, it was a piece of popcorn adding new dimensions and events to the story of the outlaws. This TV movie feels more realistic and certainly rang a few bells with me having previously read Jeff Guinn's excellent biography of the pair; 'Go Down Together'. I believed Grainger and her co-star Emile Hirsch as Parker and Clyde Barrow far more than Dunaway and Beatty even though the shadows of though it was difficult to remove those Hollywood legends shadows from this production, because let's face it whilst Hirsch and Grainger could easily be a match for Barrow and Parker it's a much bigger ask to pose to anyone to top Hollywood royalty.

And speaking of Hollywood legends look out for William Hurt and Holly Hunter as Frank Harmer and Bonnie Parker's mother respectively. 

It's a glossy well made production and more faithful to the true story (not that it doesn't tell the full facts and isn't above some embellishment itself) though I did feel on occasions it was missing some spark despite the best efforts of all involved. I wasn't totally sold on Clyde's premonitions, feeling they distracted from the pace of the narrative from time to time as indeed did much of the 'arty farty' airs the production occasionally gave itself, nor was I sold on a rather tiring attempt to relate to the modern day; "He must be lying he's a banker that's what they do" is a line that is clearly very pleased with itself in the wake of the credit crunch. 

Better suited was the realism of Bonnie's poetry and her dreams of being famous - a timeless pipe dream that I suppose many will feel even more relevant now in this day and age of Simon Cowell's globally successful TV talent shows - and the steady pace each part has in following the key stages of their short but infamous criminal career. 

This new telling of the story is worth catching but I'd recommend the book Go Down Together above it.


  1. I loved Preston Front. I never made the connection before that it was the same actress. Nice to see she's doing well.

    1. Of course you loved Preston Front, that's cos you're from the north west and have excellent taste :) Yeah she's done some really interesting work in the last few years, this, The Borgias, the latest big screen version of Great Expectations...she's also done a brilliant dramatic adaptation of The Testament of Jessie Lamb for Radio 4 (which I reviewed on these pages) and a great little British indie called The Scouting Book For Boys which I thoroughly recommend.

  2. Why thank you:) I'll certainly make an effort to find The Scouting'Book for Boys it sounds like something I'd enjoy.