Thursday, July 2, 2009

Public Enemies

I have read the reviews written by the fans and other people on Fandango and I wanted to go see this movie and love it and prove them all wrong.  Well, all the criticism was not wrong this time. the cinematography left something to be desired.  I felt like my eyesight got so much worse while straining to watch this movie.  I don't know if it was intentional because it was supposed to be set in the 30s during the heyday of the Great Depression and the infamous G-men started by J. Edgar Hoover.  
They called John Dillinger the gentleman bank robber because he never took money from hard working people only from the greedy banks.  He brags in the movie that he can rob a bank in a minute forty flat.  There may be truth to that.  It was a time when the criminals were more of a "rockstar" than the G-men that had bad reputations. John Dilinger was handsome, a gentleman and a bad boy all rolled into one.  What's not to love?  Well, I love Johnny Depp, in my opinion the man can do no wrong.  In this movie, he is the one bright spot, when he's minus the horrible 30s mustache.  
The picture was often too dark to tell who was doing what.  The way he meets his girlfriend is a little bit odd, but cute at the same time and their love story is heart-warming.  A lot of the scenes are anti-climactic, if really bullet-ridden.  The ending was too much of a disappointment considering that the whole movie the G-men spent their lives trying to find John Dillinger.  For federally trained cops these movie G-men sure don't notice much.  Two scenes see Johnny walking right next to a pack of determined G-men and they don't even bat an eye in his direction.  
The whole movie the chorus from the new Eminem song, "We Made You." Kept going through my head.  You're a rock star, everybody wants you, player who can really blame them, we're the ones who made you."  Johnny Depp's Dillinger is most of the time a "rockstar." 
Johnny Depp still has not done wrong, but this movie was not the best venue for his incredible acting chops.  I have to agree with one Fandango fan who said to not waste your money and wait for the DVD and as much as I wanted to be able to tell you differently, I can't.  The lighting in the movie was horrible, the bank robberies were formulaic and the shooting was a little too excessive at times.  I often asked myself, geez what kind of bullets are these guys using that they can shoot through dry-wall?  
Christian Bale gives kind of a "blah" performance.  It's flat and utterly emotionless, it wasn't a stretch for him to play this part, his Madame Tussaud's wax figure could have played it and we wouldn't have known differently.  It would have been nice for them to fill out the character's depths a little more and maybe put more history of John Dillinger and how he affected the country and what the people actually thought of him.  You get a small glimpse of his notoriety, but nothing very explicit about the G-men and why he became Public Enemy number 1.  Johnny Depp gets all the stars. He carried this burden completely on his shoulders, no one else's character was even close to memorable.  Johnny Depp still has his looks and you wouldn't know he was in his forties.  He made a good fit for the very shallow character.  Just be prepared to squint and strain your eyes to try to see what is going on and possibly develop a headache due to all the straining. Not my favorite movie ever, but worth the Matinee price.

This gets only ** two stars.  It was too hard to see the actual action and the lighting totally needed help.  Johnny Depp was great as Dillinger but I walked out with as much knowledge of Dillinger as I had when I went in, which was almost none.

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