Bonnie and Clyde set the bar high for suave and slick runaway criminal couplings, and since then we have had our fair share of dynamic on-screen fugitive twosomes. Fast forward to the present and today sees the release of Southern-set Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, giving us our newest captivating outlaw couple in the form of Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck as Ruth and Bob Muldoon. To coincide with this release, we pay homage to our top 10 boot-shaking, gun-toting outlaw couples to paint bullets across our screens.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013)
Kicking off the list is freshly-released Ain’t Them Bodies Saints directed by Southern filmmaker, David Lowery and starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as your run-of-the-mill star-crossed lovers, Ruth and Bob. Set in a sweltering 1970s backwater town, the catalyst sees the couple embarking on a shootout with the police. Skip to four years later and post-prisonbreak we see Affleck traipsing across the dramatic Texas-hillside to be reunited with Rooney and their tot. Melancholic and beautifully shot, it's one to (artfully) tug at the heartstrings.
True Romance (1993)
The film offers up a sweet-as-sugar chance encounter between Clarence, a slick comic-book nerd and plucky cow-skin sporting prostitute Alabama. After declaring undying love for one another, the two go on the run from Alabama’s pimp (a comical Gary Oldman as a gold-teeth baring Rastafarian) after an ill-advised cocaine theft. The storyline features a magenta Cadillac and ostentatious sex in a motorway phonebooth. What's not to love?
Natural Born Killers (1994)
Disorientatingly-shot gorefest Natural Born Killers sports a Tarantino-written screenplay with smatterings of trippy psychedelic inbetween-scenes. The outlaw couple in question are Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as redneck hicks Mickey and Mallory Knox. The pair embark on a thrill-killing spree after they first dispose of Mallory's family in a gaudy gameshow-style murder scene. Amidst their brutal slaughter of innocent American citizens, a quiet moment is taken to exchange vows – "Til you and I die, and die, and die again. Til death do us part." Enough said.
Not our most conventional couple per se, but there's something undeniably irresistible about the assassin duo of a soft-spoken Jean Reno as Leon, and a feisty pre-adolescent Natalie Portman as the magnetic Mathilda. A pivotal moment lies when Mathilda, sporting a bloody nose and cut lip, queries into Leon's occupation, to which the latter replies 'I'm a cleaner'. 'You mean you're a hitman?' There's a pause as Portman's gaze bores into Reno's nervous dispostion. 'Cool'. Thus ensues the uncomfortable sexual tension that bubbles under the surface of the film's duration. But what lies in the charm of the unlikely coupling - as well as their matching beanies - is that this thin line is never trespassed, only hinted at.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
From Dusk Till Dawn sees the relationship between a young George Clooney and his somewhat mentally-deficient and sadistic on-screen brother Quentin Tarantino, the latter holding a somewhat uncontrollable inclination to maim and rape. In order for the pair to cross over into the Mexican border, the duo kidnap a family and hijack their all-American campervan. Tender brotherly moments include Clooney battering the shit out of Tarantino after Tarantino 'accidentally' dismembers their waitress-hostage. Ah, boys will be boys.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Pulp Fiction sees John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson as oddly-endearing bungling hitmen Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, comically portrayed in their inability to smoothly or successfully carry out the tasks they are assigned. A moment of sheer brilliance happens when Travolta accidentally unloads his gun into the face of a young teenage accomplice – ‘Aw man, I shot Marvin in the face’.
Starring Martin Sheen as a James Dean-alike greaser – a half-burnt fag perpetually resting his lips – and Sissy Spacek as his tweenie baton-twirling lover who embark on a Midwest murder spree. Based on the real-life dealings of Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate who murdered eleven people in the Nebraska/Wyoming area in the late fifties. Cue shots of Sheen and Spacek wilding out in the woods and creating odd booby-traps of psychotic proportions.
The Honeymoon Killers (1969)
Grainy black and white biopic based on the true story of Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez, the notorious ‘Lonely Hearts Killers’. Claustraphobic and smoke-hazed shots inundate the film which sees Shirley Stoler playing Martha, a sullen and obese nurse who meets untrustworthy lothario Ray through a lonely hearts ad. The two lure in vulnerable women in murderous money-making schemes, but jealousy between the two threatens to unravel it all: 'I'd rather see you in jail than make love to another woman!'
Thelma and Louise (1991)
Directed by Ridley Scott, Thelma and Louise stars Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis as two disatisfied women, an Arkansas fastfood waitress and beat-down houswife. The ladies take off in a burn-your-bra-esque road trip in a '66 Thunderbird. Cue double-denim outfits, aviators and of course, Brad Pitt's fame-propelling topless scene.
Wild at Heart (1990)
David Lynch's surrealist flick Wild at Heart sees Nicolas Cage as Sailor Ripley, and Laura Dern as a Lula Pace Fortune. The momentum of the film is driven by the duo fleeing through the dusty stretches of the deep South in order to escape the unhinged oddballs hired by Lula's disapproving mother – played by a permed, pink-taloned Diane Ladd. Lynch's screenplay evokes cultish references, combustible sexual passon and Nicolas Cage in a snakeskin jacket chanelling Elvis.