Sunday, August 2, 2009

Public Enemies


I was really eager to see this, the trailer was pretty cool, it was a film by Michael Mann starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale, how could you go wrong?? Well pretty easily apparently, this film unfortunately suffers from many flaws, and ones that I believe could have easily been avoided.

The story of John Dillinger is actually a rather interesting one (Just look at the wiki page to start with and this film made it into a bit of a bore and it really didn't flesh out the character at all. There was so much potential there to tell an interesting story and give this man a face, give him motivation and help us understand him. But it really fails to do this, it starts off well into his life story with no any indication of who he is. It moves on from scene to scene, adds in the love interest, and there was hardly any chemistry between them and it wasn't awfully convincing either. That isn't to say Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard weren't good, they were fine, but the romance between them felt forced. Even more unconvincing with that was the love scene, they had all their clothes on. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it just added to their lack of chemistry.

The way this film was shot was really just all over the place, there were so many different styles through out the film. There were times the film looked like the t.v. show Cops, except if it were in the 1930's and it really did not work. It would have benefited from being shot steady and clear. There were some awfully grainy scenes and this changed over a lot and it really did not look professional. There are some good scenes, with good sound and action, Michael Mann knows how to use sound to his advantage and for me (especially a later shoot out) worked really well.

Going back to the story, a lot of the scenes were actually rather slow and drawn out and they just did not hold my attention what so ever. The characters were so poorly written and not fleshed out at all, you just didn't really care. Performances were fine, not the best by these actors but they were all fine given what they had to work with. Personally Christian Bale was alright, he looked good, but he can do better. Johnny Depp was a good choice, but again he needed for to work with. There were quite a few Aussie faces in this film, and a nice surprise by Jason Clarke (Showtime's Brotherhood) he certainly stood out amongst the supporting cast.

I wasn't completely bored by this film, but I expected a lot better. Some scenes worked and played out well. Like the scene where Dillinger walks into the police station and the cops too wrapped up into the sport game on the TV do not notice it is him.

I would say maybe worth a watch if you are a fan of Mann or the actors, but do not expect too much.

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