Caitlin Rickard: Bye, bye, ‘Bonnie & Clyde’

In perhaps the strangest adaptation of any film ever, over the past two nights A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel has aired a two-part, four hour miniseries titled “Bonnie & Clyde.”
Dec 11, 2013
(MCT) Emile Hirsch (left) and Holliday Grainger play the notorious couple on the two-part miniseries, ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ that aired Sunday and Monday simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel.

In perhaps the strangest adaptation of any film ever, over the past two nights A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel has aired a two-part, four hour miniseries titled “Bonnie & Clyde.”

If you’re first guess was that this stars Jay-Z and Beyoncé as a throwback to a decade ago, paying homage to their hit song ’03 Bonnie & Clyde, well you’re wrong, but I so wish that you were right.

That’s neither here nor there.

The miniseries obviously is meant to rebrand and reinsert the most notorious American criminals ever back into the market and into the minds of millions. So, welcome back to the limelight Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

This tale as old as time, I’ll admit, is an interesting one, set back in a time when the term “outlaw” was still a thing.

During the Great Depression and later years of the prohibition era, this dynamic duo wore back road paths out going back-and-forth across states in the central U.S. evading the cops and living on the lamb. The only thing that separates these two from a normal couple in love is that they liked to rob and kill people, not your typical honeymoon.

Of course their story has been done and done again, but besides the 1967 version starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, it’s been to no ado.

However, the recent miniseries was receiving a lot of promotional power and every channel I turned it seemed a preview was on, enticing me deeper into the murky waters of Joplin, Missouri and the Barrow Gang.

So, I broke down and watched it.

Why. Why, why, why did I do that? It ruined everything. It ruined the story of the star-crossed lovers, it ruined the History Channel’s credibility, it ruined everything.

Bonnie, played by Holliday Grainger (who I kept mistaking for Leighton Meester), was completely psychotic, like even more than I would assume the actual Bonnie was in real life, and that’s saying something.

I couldn’t tell you who actually was the mastermind behind their criminal binder, but this miniseries clearly wanted us to believe it was Bonnie.

Via panic attacks, self-adoration and a need for fame, the female partner-in-crime led the way on their cross-country spree. And the miniseries also kept insisting Bonnie was a ballerina in these weird flashbacks? I don’t know, honestly I was left with more questions than answers.

The flashbacks-slash-visions next bring me to Clyde, played by Emile Hirsch. For some reason, I genuinely am so confused about this so stick with me, but the new miniseries decided to add a slight twist and give Clyde a sixth sense. Yes, Clyde, apparently, could see into the future and know when bad things were to come, and supposedly, that’s what led to the couples numerous escapes after close brushes with the law.

It would appear Bonnie and Clyde weren’t the only ones evading, as it seems the truth was blatantly evading the screenwriters for this film.

This “third eye” concept completely invalidated everything for me. Mix that with the other half of the Barrow Gang, Clyde’s brother was played by Tweener from Prison Break and his sister-in-law was played by Hayley Dunphy from Modern Family, and everything about the effort of the film just seemed cheap and inadequate.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but if Bonnie and Clyde were ultimately seeking to be remembered, they’re sure to be outshined and forgotten forever after critics and viewers see this.

Finally, four miserable hours later, the story ends with Clyde setting up the duo for a suicide-by-cop shootout after an extremely strange bunny premonition.

Which leads me to ask, did I actually watch Donnie Darko?

Log in or sign up to post comments.