Saturday, July 04, 2009

Public Enemies


Somewhere it is summer and girl are reading. (Just not here).







This is a very hard movie to critique. If you come into it expecting a character-driven story where all the elements fall into place, where every action and character is clearly spelled out, I think you might be disappointed. There's a lot of action, don't get me wrong, but you never understand how Dillinger and his associates came to this place--how they came together. Even who some of them are.

If however, you come into the theater expecting an impressionistic look at the thirties, a glimpse at how the FBI discovered itself and developed the tactics it would use, at how the world looked from behind the barrage of gunfire, at how the times of revered gangsters was coming to an end as their violence spilled too much onto public streets, you will be impressed. You have to let yourself climb on the sideboard of the roadster and take the ride. Don't ask too many questions.

Impressionist painters saw the world differently than the realists who came before them. But both visions are equally valid. We've had other movies that laid out the facts; this one laid out the look and the times. (IMHO)

10 comments:

George said...

Michael Mann is the director so you have to expect plenty of visual pizazz. I'll go watch Johnny Depp in any movie he decides to make.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Full of pizazz, and I agree about Depp although I was not a big fan of PIRATES.

Paul Brazill said...

Cinema should, I think, be realistic and expresionist. Two hours of impressionism can be numbing. I loved the Milius 'Dillinger' and I think Mann is really good but overrated. However, Depp is so good in Ed Wood and Donny Brasco that I think it's well worth a shot.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My daughter and her husband really disliked it. You never know, do you?

ARCHAVIST said...

I've read some terrible reviews on this one - some say it fails to grab the viewer or create any real interest. Shame I had such high hopes but mind you I've always thought Mann was too stylised with not enough real substance - I'm one of the few people who think Manhunter is boring.

Paul Brazill said...

I wouldn't say boring but quite good. Apart from Cox, who is great, as always. By the way, I was chatting to Anne Billson about the new Woody Allen and it sounds AWFUL.She rarely warns me off films so ...

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think I'll skip this one. I haven't like an Allen picture since Matchpoint and that includes VickiBarcelona.

Dana King said...

Mann is always more about style than substance. Sometimes it works; sometimes not. PUBLIC ENEMIES sounds like a NetFlix adventure in about six months for me.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Yes, it was "pretty" to look at, but the main problem for me was that Dillinger didn't have an interesting life. He was boring, unlike Bonnie and Clyde who were endlessly fascinating to me.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think the thing I found most interesting was watching the FBI invent itself, test how far it would go. And the swirl of it all. Not the story-not the acting. I certainly didn't recognize Billy Crudup-wow, what makeup that was.