More neo-noir biographical drama than a thriller movie, “Bonnie and Clyde” is unafraid to paint its titular criminals in a negative light. During their initial meeting, Bonnie doubts Clyde’s criminal past, accuses him of being all talk, and challenges him to use his gun in a crime. He hesitates at first, but Clyde eventually gives into the pressure and robs the store to prove himself to a woman he’s just met. This action tells us a lot about Clyde and his self-esteem.
Once he’s accused of being a “faker,” he feels pressured to show Bonnie otherwise, which is a dynamic that continues throughout the film. This interaction hints at a deep self-esteem issue for the young thief, who isn’t confident enough in himself to stand up to Bonnie and shrug off her influence. Instead, his crimes and violence increase, and his desperate need to prove himself leads to their downfall.
After hooking up with Bonnie, Clyde attempts a bank robbery but fails miserably. Bonnie ridicules him by laughing hysterically as they rush away from the scene. Defeated and ashamed, Clyde tries again, this time, with Bonnie at his side. This heist ends even worse than the last when their amateur getaway driver, C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard), gets stuck in a parking space, and Clyde shoots a bank employee in the face so they can escape. This fateful event is the point of no return for the couple, which ultimately seals their fate.