16 August 2014

Public Enemies


Public Enemies 2009
  • Director: Michael Mann
  • Based on book by Bryan Burrough
  • Cast: Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Carey Mulligan (you have to look quickly), Billy Crudup (unrecognizable), Marion Cotillard, Lili Taylor, Peter Gerety, Leelee Sobieski
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Johnny Depp -  Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Slow Burn, Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Arizona Dream, Benny and Joon, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Dead Man, Nick of Time, Donnie Brasco, The Brave, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Astronaut’s Wife, Sleepy Hollow, The Man Who Cried, Chocolat, Blow, From Hell, Lost in La Mancha, Pirates of the Caribbean (all four of them), Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Secret Window, Finding Neverland, Libertine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Public Enemies, Alice in Wonderland, The Tourist
    • Christian Bale – Branagh’s Henry V, Batman, Equilibrium, Terminator Salvation, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Velvet Goldmine, Little Women, Swing Kids
    • Carey Mulligan – The Great Gatsby, Never Let Me Go, An Education
    • Billy Crudup –  Big Fish, Almost Famous
    • Marion Cotillard – Nine, La vie en rose, Inception, A Good Year
    • Lili Taylor – Slipping Down Life, Six Feet Under, High Fidelity, Ransom, I Shot Andy Warhol, The Addiction, Arizona Dream, Born on the Fourth of July
    • Peter Gerety – War of the Worlds, Homicide: Life on the Streets
    • Leelee Sobrieski  - Glass House, 88 Minutes, My First Mister
  • Why? JD. 36st in JD Marathon
  • Seen: Once before. Now: August 1, 2014.
After Jack Sparrow (sorry – Captain Jack Sparrow) Dillinger seems positively normal. After Sweeny Todd he seems positively benign.  And after almost all previous JD films this one is ...actually...almost...boring?
It starts out dramatically enough with a violent jailbreak and the killing of Pretty Boy Floyd and a bank robbery.  And we soon see that benign he isn’t, handsome young Dillinger. He’s violent and swaggering and macho and he orders his girl friend around and she falls for him because of it and they bare their souls to each other and it seems we’re supposed to like them but I don’t.  Besides, JDs lines are awfully stilted.
The FBI politics and procedure are given a lot of time and Christian Bale makes it a bit interesting but only a little and he’s so much better as Batman.
John Dillinger is a folk hero because he lets the people keep their money when he robs banks (though we see precious little of their real depression poverty), because he’s funny and cheeky and folksy when interviewed and he represents rebellion and freedom against the oppression of banks and cops.  But we really don’t see this much amidst all the chases and shoot-outs.
It’s a handsome film but it takes itself too seriously.  It has moments of suspense and I feel a little sorry for Dillinger as he gets betrayed and isolated and cornered and everything starts to go wrong. But only a little.  What did he expect, really?
It’s not exactly boring. But it’s not as interesting as it should be.
                     
2* of 5.

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