Friday, July 3, 2009

Box Office Review - Public Enemies

I have two, well three problems with this film and I am going to get them out of the way because the movie was good otherwise. One is rather trivial so I will address that first. In 1931 one of the pinnacles of the gangster genres was released. It starred James Cagney and was called The Public Enemy. The writers couldn’t come up with a more original name for this Michael Mann film then Public Enemies? It was the name of the book that this film is based on, but still. I feel that it takes a little bit away from the great Cagney film. Ironically Stephen Graham’s character Baby Face Floyd does a Cagney impression in Public Enemies. My other problems with the film are the length and the lighting. The film did not capture till about an hour in, and for that first hour aside from the Marion Cottilard and Johnny Depp relationship I didn’t care about anything that was happening. I felt that the filmed picked up after that, and maybe on a second watch I would appreciate the things that were happening more. The lighting in this first hour and for most of the film was rather poor. In some parts it was so bad that I thought it must be something wrong with the projector. After talking to others at different screenings they too had the same problems. During some scenes all that could be seen was the silhouettes of the actors and it was hard to tell who was who.

Aside from these nitpicks the film was fairly good. The acting was good from the main actors. Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard all turn in performances that are their usual character performances. It was smart to surround these actors with such an amazing supporting cast as it adds some depth to the film. James Russo, David Wenham, Jason Clarke, Billy Crudup really embody their characters. My favourite acting job of the film though is Stephen Graham (Snatch, Gangs of New York) who as mentioned before plays Baby Face Nelson.

This is a Michael Mann film and it looks like one of his films. He does a good job of capturing the time period of the 1930s. Seeing this period shot digitally is unique and works well for most of the film. The story of John Dillinger has been told many times before as it is a fascinating story. This is a worthy telling of his life

A Good Banana

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